Becoming an entrepreneur after returning from military service has become more popular in recent years. Veteran entrepreneurs, also called “Vetrepreneurs,” are growing in population, and though military experience and professional skills vary among individuals, most veterans report that their service helped prepare them for the chaotic world of entrepreneurship.
Veteran-owned businesses are found in nearly every industry. While there are numerous successful businesses owned, operated, and employing veterans, it can be difficult to get started for first-time entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there are a number of great resources available for veteran entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.
Boots to Business
Offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in cooperation with the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Boots to Business is an educational opportunity for veterans to educate them on various aspects of entrepreneurship as well as how to locate additional resources for funding and support. The original Boots to Business program was only offered to transitioning members of the military, but with the integration of the Reboot program, all veterans and spouses are eligible.
Similarly, Bunker Labs provides education and resources to hopeful entrepreneurs from a military background. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is composed of a network of existing veteran entrepreneurs who aim to pass on their knowledge and experience to other veterans with similar aspirations. Bunker Labs’ ultimate goal is to ensure all veteran entrepreneurs have access to the networks, tools, and resources they need for success.
The Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD)
This office is a subset of the SBA which prioritizes the promotion of veteran-owned businesses. Primarily, this office strives to connect veteran entrepreneurs with options for federal funding as well as commercial supply chains. The OVBD also oversees the Veterans Business Outreach Program which aims to connect veterans to Veterans Business Outreach Centers located all around the country; these centers are accessible to veterans and provide a number of helpful resources and opportunities such as classes, training sessions, mentorships, and more.
Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP)
This online portal provides a host of useful sites, opportunities, and resources to help veteran entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. From finding corporate connections and learning about government programs to a general introduction into how veterans can start their own business, the VEP is incredibly valuable to any veterans who want to start a business.
The items listed here are just a few of the many available resources created to help support veterans aspiring to start their own businesses. Though veterans have certainly developed useful skills during their service, there are means of support for the nuanced aspects of entrepreneurship that are available and accessible.