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Free help for U.S. Veterans to start or grow a business

Through federal grants, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers special programs in many states for Veterans to help start or even grow their business. And it’s all free.

military veterans

military veterans

The challenge of starting and growing a business

There are many barriers that dissuade would-be entrepreneurs from trying to start their own business. Not having an investor, having no knowledge of how to write a business plan or just feeling like you don’t know where to begin can feel like trying to climb a mountain with no gear or experience.

Luckily there are several government programs, run by the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), that offer mentoring and consultation services, and sometimes funding, to potential and existing small business owners for little to no cost. One subset of the organization, consisting of numerous locations known as Veteran Business Outreach Centers, is designed to specifically assist veterans who are interested in starting their own business.

What is the VBOC?

The VBOC provides entrepreneurial training to veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and active duty business owners in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. Training consists of various segments including pre-business plan workshops, business plan preparation, feasibility analysis and mentorship. There are 16 VBOC locations and each one is equipped to provide these services to veterans owning or considering starting their own business.

The Benefits

These organizations are a great option for veterans who’ve served their country but may not have had the time to really explore their business ideas and interests. It gives them the opportunity to acknowledge their other interests, and with solid training and consultation, turn those passions into a lucrative business venture.

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VBOCs are not lending institutions and therefore do not supply applicants with funding. Veterans must obtain funding from a bank, investments or other sources found through research. However, the SBA does specialize in financially backing small businesses and offers various loans and grants and is therefore a viable resource for those thinking of starting their own business.

The takeaway

After serving your country and making family, friends, peers and yourself proud, now is the time to take advantage of resources that can help you start your own business. They’re readily available and designed specifically to help you succeed – and those are two qualifiers that are of high importance in the business world.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.


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