It's not that the brain behind the Small Business Administration's new military spouse entrepreneur mentoring group just thinks spouse career help is important -- it's that she's a military spouse, too.
Barbara Carson, associate administrator of the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development, is a longtime Air reservist and, wait for it, military spouse. She's lived the problem of military spouse entrepreneurism, including operating her own small business overseas.
As part of their outreach to military spouses, SBA is now working with the Defense Department to create and run an online forum through LinkedIn that pairs regular webinars with tips and tricks for spouse entrepreneurs with ongoing mentorship.
For several years the Defense Department has largely viewed spouse employment help as part of their military family transition program. But really, Carson said, what the SBA is looking at is more specific than that.
"I don't think we'll ever get to a point where we call it anything but 'transition assistance,' but this aspirational vision is more like 'career development," she said.
Now military spouse entrepreneurs who are looking for ongoing support and help can tap into the LinkedIn community for help. Spouses can request to join the group now, and started Jan. 2, 2017 SBA mentors, MilSpouse business owners and DoD certified career counselors will be there to share information, give advice, answer questions and offer entrepreneur mentoring, Carson said.
Carson said SBA is also working to increase their partnership with the U.S. Chamber's Hiring Our Heroes and In Gear Career, a Hiring Our Heroes networking group for military spouses. She said groups like that help SBA spread the word about the resources they can offer the military spouse entrepreneur community, such as the Boots to Business program, which is not just for veterans.
Make sure to check out the SBA's new military spouse LinkedIn group.