Adding to its already sizable list of programs to help veterans, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has just launched its "Operation Boots to Business," a program designed to teach returning service members the nuts and bolts of how to successfully start and grow their own business.
Returning service members participating in Operation Boots to Business, after viewing a short introductory video on entrepreneurship, will get in-person classroom training supplemented by an online, 8-week entrepreneurship course leading to the creation of the hopeful entrepreneur's first essential -- a business plan.
Participants will end up with a complete feasibility study of their own business concept.
"Veterans are natural entrepreneurs, already possessing the experience and leadership skills to start businesses and create jobs," said Rhett Jeppson of the SBA and a veteran himself. "Boots to Business will leverage SBA's existing collaboration with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families to provide training materials specifically geared toward transitioning service members to become entrepreneurs."
As a "work-out-the-kinks" pilot program, Operation Boots to Business is currently available only Marine Corps veterans at four locations -- Quantico, VA; Cherry Point, NC; Camp Pendleton, CA; and Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. The SBA hopes to make the program available to all branches of the military by the end of next year.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 9% of all businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned. These 2.4 million veteran-owned businesses provide jobs for 5.8 million people.
The Census Bureau's 2007 Survey of Business Owners, showed that veteran-owned businesses generated $1.2 trillion in receipts, or about 4.1% of all business receipts nationwide.