NEW YORK -- For many people who leave military service, the next logical step is becoming an entrepreneur.
The Small Business Administration's website includes a section with information about entrepreneurship resources for veterans, current service members and spouses; it can be found at www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd/resources .
The resources include training programs, like Boots to Business, which teaches the basics of running a company to current service members; the courses are given on military installations. A version of the course aimed at veterans, reservists and spouses, Boots to Business/Reboot, is offered for veterans at locations throughout the country. You can learn more at https://sbavets.force.com/s/ .
The SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development has Veterans Business Outreach Centers that offer training, counseling and membership. There are approximately 20 centers; you can find more information about them at www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd/resources/1548576 . Small Business Development Centers, also sponsored by the SBA, may also have programs to help train and counsel veterans. You can find one at www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find .
The government has what's called a set-aside program that aims at awarding 3% of federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Set-aside programs are designed to give challenged or disadvantaged owners a better chance of landing a federal contract; there are also programs for women-owned businesses and socio-economically disadvantaged companies. There's more information for veterans at www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-businesses-program .
SCORE, the organization that gives free counseling to small businesses, has programs and workshops designed for veterans. Visit www.score.org . Mentoring is also available from American Corporate Partners, an organization sponsored by some of the country's largest corporations and organizations; visit www.acp-usa.org .
Some states have resources, departments or offices for veterans who own or are starting businesses. And some franchise companies give veterans discounts on franchise fees, the money paid to buy a franchise. Some franchisors will waive the fees altogether. A search of the internet for "franchise" and "veteran" will help you find them.
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