5 Resources Worth Sharing with a Veteran Entrepreneur

Senior Airman Teddy Michon is also owner/operator of Drexel Detailing LLC, and says the skills and training he’s received in the military has helped him be a better person and a better business owner. (Airman 1st Class Steven Sechler/U.S. Air National Guard photo)

There are a lot of resources out there for veteran entrepreneurs who want to start their own business, and there's a good reason for it: Veterans are a big part of the U.S. economy. With an estimated 300,000 veteran-run businesses in America, veteran entrepreneurs make up 5.9% of all businesses and employ nearly four million people.

Any veteran looking to get started in business or improve their existing business should know about the plethora of important resources available to help them. The following organizations offer training, information and mentorship, often without cost. If you know a business-minded veteran, this is one list worth sharing.

1. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration should be any entrepreneur's first stop for information and resources on getting a business up and running or expanding their current business. Luckily for American veterans, the SBA also has a few programs and offices just for vets.

Boots to Business is a free, two-day training program for current active and reserve members of the Armed Forces, and it can be accessed through an installation's transition service manager's office. For separated or retired service members, the SBA offers Reboot, a similar fundamentals course that opens the door for all other veteran-oriented SBA offerings.

After these fundamentals courses, vets get access to specialized training from the SBA, such as Revenue Readiness, special programs for service-disabled veterans through nonprofit partners and Veteran Institute for Procurement, which helps vet-run businesses get government contracts

It all starts with Boots to Business or the Reboot courses. Visit the veteran-owned business page of the SBA website to find out about them or learn about other special programs for veterans. The SBA also operates a number of veterans business outreach centers (VBOCs) around the country that provide similar programs and training.

2. Department of Veterans Affairs

Becoming a verified service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) or veteran-owned small business (VOSB) through the VA's Vets First Verification Program allows these businesses to compete for special contracts from the federal government. The Veterans First Contracting Program offers contracts for programs and funds specifically designed to be awarded to firms owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans.

The four-stage process includes intake, assessment, federal review and decision. Any business that has worked as a federal contractor can testify to the game-changing nature of being awarded a federal contract, and the VA's Vets First Verification Program is how to get started.

3. Institute for Veterans and Military Families

The D'Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University offers so much to veteran entrepreneurs, it's hard to know where to begin. Its research-based entrepreneurial programs partners with the VA, the SBA and other agencies to provide specialized training in many areas.

For business-minded veterans who are just getting started, the IVMF offers help and resources for ideation, the free IGNITE one-day training event to learn the pathways to entrepreneurship, the STRIVE startup training and resource program and idea testing for veterans, spouses and transitioning service members called EBV-SPARK.

The IVMF also has programs for existing businesses. Veteran EDGE brings together like-minded spouses and veteran business owners for training and networking. VetSource brings corporate procurement specialists together with veteran entrepreneurs for panel discussions, networking and resource sharing. EBV-Accelerate is a boot camp-style program that tackles the nuts and bolts of business growth.

No matter what phase your business might be in, there are resources and free training programs available at Syracuse University's D'Aniello Institute.


SCORE is a business-oriented nonprofit organization that provides helpful resources, free software and online services to help veteran-owned businesses during their startup phases. It's the country's largest network of volunteer business experts, so when veterans are paired with a SCORE mentor, they can rest assured that their mentor knows their troubles.

SCORE for Veterans includes other veteran entrepreneurs in their volunteer ranks to help vets translate their military and use their earned benefits effectively.


Since federal contracting can be so critical to the success of veteran-owned businesses, the founders of GOVCON Ops help veteran entrepreneurs through the entire process. This veteran-founded business provides proposal writing services for a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule and offers to help simplify the proposal writing process and assist veteran firms during the proposal process.

After potential contracts are awarded, GOVCON Ops also offers consulting services to help business owners with their GSA schedule post-award compliance and audits, ensuring contracts they win are kept.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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