Military Family - Entrepreneurship Resources
Our Military and all of their family members made plenty of sacrifices while in service before returning to civilian life to become an integral part of our society that owns nearly 2.5M businesses in the United States, employ more than 5M people and generate more than $1T in sales and receipts annually. As a small thanks for their service we have compiled a list of organizations and initiatives resources that are dedicated to helping the whole military family. We will continuously expand this glossary of valuable tools and organizations, so if you have recommendations for organizations, online communities, or tools that we should include, we welcome your ideas here
“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.”
— Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
As veterans re-entering civilian life and beginning transitioning to new careers, many of us find that we are perfectly suited to becoming a VETERAN ENTREPRENEUR. As a military veteran you already posses the Skills that will help you succeed as an entrepreneur. You already went thru the best leadership training in the world thanks to the military. You are mission-oriented and have a drive to succeed. You are willing to take risks. Grit and determination just come with the package. You will need every and each of these skills because becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy endeavor. While it brings the satisfaction of making the world a better place, and making your goals a reality; it comes with its ups and downs, and it owns uniques challenges with doubters and naysayers around every corner. However, while there are doubters, there are also supporters that believe in you and want you to SUCCEED.According to a Gallup poll, the men and woman that have served in the military are the most trusted individuals by our society, making the military the highest rated institution in the U.S. Because of your military training you already know that the best way to succeed is by training, creating good habits and persevering when the easier way is to quit.
“Get into good habits early on, such as creating meeting agendas, sticking to meeting times, and walking away with actionable plans.” —Jennifer Mak
Below is a list of business resources to help start or grow your business. Most of them are FREE or at very low cost to you and can help you through the process of government contracting, provide business counseling, assist you with obtaining your business and personal certifications and more. The intention of these organizations is to empower our veteran community to succeed.
“Finding a mentor early, who’s been there before and has experience in the areas you don’t, can really help guide you through important decisions and help you prioritize what’s important.” — Bertrand De Oliveira
Bunker Labs supports all entrepreneurs in the veteran community to include military veterans, military spouses and family members throughout the journey of starting a business: from the idea stage to the growth stage. Launch Lab Online offer online educational platform in the ideational phase in a gamified, interactive way to get an entrepreneurship education from anywhere in the world, on your time, at your own pace. Open to active duty, veterans, military spouses. WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program aims to assist US military veterans and their family members that have started a business by providing services that would help them achieve it. CEOcircle is for companies that have displayed higher level growth and traction. Learn more here
Coalition of Veteran Owned Businesses (CVOB): Supporting the success of veteran, service member, and military spouse-owned businesses by demystifying the process and connecting business owners to commerce and supply opportunities. Learn more here
The Hofstra Veterans Venture Challenge is a business mentoring program for veterans, spouses, or a Gold Star family members that offers $100,000 in competitive seed funding to veteran entrepreneurs around the country. The program consist of a virtual course based upon Business Model Canvas, an in-person business Bootcamp at Hofstra University, mentoring from experienced leaders, and the opportunity to participate in the Pitch Competition, which will provide seed capital, in-kind services, and connections to funding sources and mentorship. Learn more here
Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) delivers a unique and innovative programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras. Their programs includes EBV, EVB-F, EVB Accelerate, VWISE, VWISE Ignite, COA , COV, Boots to Business. Learn more here
Center of Excellence (COE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship: A one-stop resource connecting thousands of service providers to the veteran and military-connected entrepreneurs who need them. Learn more hereEntrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV): Learn the steps and stages of business creation, with a tailored emphasis on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran business owner.
Learn more here
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans - EBV Accelerate: Take your business to the next level! EBV Accelerate is a 3-phase program that gives veterans with a successful business the tools and coaching to propel their business to the next phase: sustainable growth. Learn more here
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families (EBV - F): Offering small business training and a vocational, economic path forward for military spouses and family members, or surviving spouse of a military member who gave his or her life in service to our country. Learn more here
V-WISE Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Provides women veterans and military spouses the training, networking and mentorship supports they need to be successful in turning a small business idea or start-up into a growing venture. Learn more here
V-WISE IGNITE: Helps women veterans and military spouses explore the opportunity of small business ownership as a post-service career path. Learn more here
VETNET: To make things easier and provide structure, a few of the leading organizations in veteran career development have combined forces to create one efficient, easy place to start. Learn more here
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Boots to Business & Boots to Business Reboot: is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the SBA to explore business ownership or self-employment opportunities by guiding them through business concepts and foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan. Learn more here
PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Centers): are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality. Learn more here
SCORE: provides mentoring and training to entrepreneurs helping with the transition into life as entrepreneurs. Learn more here
SBDC (Small Business Development Center): provides small & medium business counseling, education and information. Learn more here
VBOC: provides education and services focusing on business development, technology deployment, e-commerce, counseling and mentoring. Learn more here
8% of set-aside and sole source contracts are reserved for registered Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSBs) / Veteran - Owned Small Business (DVBEs). Learn more here
Register your business today here
The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP): is hosted by the VA and it offers resources on starting, financing, and growing a business, in addition to government contracting opportunities. It provides direct access for small businesses to access federal services and the resources necessary for entrepreneurship. Learn more here
Patriot Boot Camp
PBC: provide active duty service members, veterans, and their spouses with access to mentors, educational programming, and a robust community of experts and peers to help them innovate and build impactful businesses.
3-Day Boot Camp: an intensive 3-day technology entrepreneurship boot camp modeled after the Tech stars accelerator to provide educational training and 1:1 mentoring to inspire and advance startup founders.
PBC RISE: for Patriot Boot Camp alumni who have completed an initial Patriot Boot Camp 3-Day Program to accelerate their businesses. Learn more here
National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement
VIP is a veteran entrepreneurship program that specifically addresses federal procurement. VIP offers a platform with three (3) training programs to assist veteran owned businesses.
VIP GROW assists companies in developing strategies to expand and operate within the federal marketplace.
VIP START is for companies wanting to enter the federal market and become procurement ready.
VIP INTERNATIONAL is for companies that want to enter or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas. Learn more here
Veteran Entrepreneurship Program
Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University - Riata Center for Entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurship training available to all members of the military disabled as a result of their service. The program is designed to assist you in creating and growing businesses that can be profitable and is free to eligible veterans accepted into the program. Learn more here
Veterans Business Services
VBS is a business networking hub that aids Veteran that are Service Disabled and are business owners seeking, and/or developing their own businesses through the Veteran Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Self- Employment Program. Learn more here
The Vet To CEO
VetToCEO programs are free of charge for qualified veterans and Active, Guard, and Reserve military.
Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors: join a group of fellow qualified entrepreneurs in a seven-week program who are either exploring entrepreneurship as a career path choice or aggressively completing their business plan.
VFW Program: this program will help you understand whether entrepreneurship is for you, whether a start-up, franchise or purchase of an existing business best suits your goals and personality, and you'll have a fundable business concept. Learn more here
Disabled Veterans Associations (DVA) provides a free crisis helpline to provide veterans and their family members with crisis intervention, emotional support, community referrals, and educational information. The helpline is available by calling 1-866-331-1944. DVA also offers periodic Veterans Entrepreneurial Training Seminars (V.E.T.S.) for veterans looking to start their own small business, or those who already own a business. Learn more here
Procurement Division, Attn: Outreach Section
707 3rd Street, 2nd Floor, MS 2-204
West Sacramento, CA 95605
916-375-4400 • Advocate@dgs.ca.gov
AcademyWomen: offer virtual mentorship from experienced professionals of both military and civilian backgrounds to ALL active, guard, reserve and veteran women of the US Armed Forces. Learn more here
American Corporate Partners (ACP): A mentoring program that connects post-9/11 veterans with corporate professionals for customized mentorships. Learn more here
Micromentor: An online mentoring nonprofit organization where you can ask questions. Learn more here
Military Entrepreneur eMentor: An online mentoring program available for military personnel, veterans and military spouses that helps them further their personal and professional lives. Learn more here
BUSINESS THAT HAVE MORE THAN $250K+ IN REVENUE
Tuck Diversity Business Programs: Take your business to the next level with Tuck Diversity Business Programs at Dartmouth in Hanover, NH. These programs—designed specifically for diverse business owners—are open to all veteran entrepreneurs, and Dartmouth is a Yellow Ribbon school. Learn more here
Entrepreneurs with three or more years of experience and at least $250,000 in annual revenue are invited to apply to Building a Successful Diverse Business, which is offered twice yearly. The next session of the program will take place from November 15-20, 2020. Learn more here
Entrepreneurs who have completed Building a Successful Diverse Business and who have five or more years of experience and annual revenue of at least $500,000 are invited to apply to Growing an Established Diverse Business, which will take place June 6-11, 2021. Learn more here Interested veterans can apply here
BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITIONS
The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference provides collaborative, hands-on, interactive learning and networking opportunities to increase awareness of and facilitate access to entrepreneurial development resources that inspire action and adds economic value through the military connected community. Learn more here
Identify your business as a Veteran Owned Business
Google My Business
“Veteran-led” Identifier for Local Listings
Google My Business allow you to identify your business as led by a veteran.
Highlight this attribute in your Google Search and Maps by enabling it in your Google My Business listing.
Follow these steps:
Sign in to Google My Business
Open the location you’d like to manage
From the menu, click “Info”Find the “Attributes” section and click the Pencil icon
Either search for the attribute you want to add or scroll through all the available options for your business
When you’re finished updating your attributes, click “Apply”
Bourbiz: features our signature sampling of more than 20 different types of Bourbon, Whiskey, Wine, and Scotch during the event or a open bar (depending on venue), as well as meet and greet opportunities with decorated veterans, business influencers, sports stars, and other notable personalities. In addition to the vast networking and resource opportunities, As always, our event culminates in a free raffle of autographed memorabilia and other exciting giveaways! Learn more here
Military influencer Conference (MIC): Established in 2016, MIC is a community of entrepreneurs, influencers, creatives, executives, and leaders who are connected to the military community. MIC 2020 will be held at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, on September 23-26, 2020. The festivities begin with a series of workshops on Wednesday, with a jam-packed schedule of keynotes, breakout sessions, and interactive experiences the remainder of the week.The conference focuses on delivering actionable insights from the stories of others and fostering an environment where people of diverse backgrounds and skill sets are motivated to forge legitimate relationships through conversation that lead to powerful collaborations. Learn more here
Veteran Edge Conference: The Institute for Veterans and Military Families Veteran EDGE Conference take place every year. This unique event is dedicated solely to veteran and military spouse business owners and the ecosystem that supports them. Over the course of four days, stakeholders, IVMF program graduates, and veteran and military-spouse business owners from around the country gathered to network, and learn about the latest opportunities, best practices, and resources available to their growing companies. Learn more here
Stay tune for more recommendations and more business advice for Entrepreneurs, and Vetpreneurs, Veterans, Military & Military Spouses that are starting their own entrepreneurial journey.
Niurka Castaneda is the Founder and Host of Founders Time Media that aims to inform, inspire entrepreneurs.