Resources for Veterans Starting A Small Business
Starting a small business can be rather difficult. Many veterans may not realize that there are resources available to aid veterans who wish to maximize their businesses potential. Resources such as funding aid can help rapidly move a business forward; while databases and registries make it easy for potential clients, who wish to engage in contracting with veterans first, to locate veteran owned businesses.
Office of Veterans Business Development
The Office of Veterans Business Development is part of the Small Business Association (SBA) and ensures that any veteran wishing to start a small business gets full advantage of the programs available to assist them. Their services are not only for full service veterans but also reserve veterans, dependents and surviving families of veterans. They also offer training and business counseling services to veterans who need help in those areas, ensuring the viability of their business. They are invaluable as they oversee a host of Federal Procurement programs for veterans as well.
Lending to veterans through this SBA office has doubled over the past few years. Since 2009, lending to veteran small business owners has nearly doubled. As such, it makes a more than sufficient first resource for business savvy veterans. The SBA itself also helps ensure that governmental contracts are allotted to veterans generously. This is worthy of mention as in 2010 10.8 billion dollars were allotted to veterans through the SBA for federal contracts, a national record as well.
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization & Center for Veterans Enterprise
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization or OSDBU and Center for Veterans Enterprise, also known as CVE offer an amazing wealth of resources for veterans. Namely, VetBiz.gov, a site linked to the Department of Veterans Affairs but managed by OSDBU. VetBiz.gov helps ensure that veterans get the most expedient processing of registration and compilation of necessary forms so that they can quickly navigate through governmental processes. By utilizing this resource veterans can ensure that their businesses will be visible on the national database for procurement opportunities in a timely fashion. For further assistance with registry requirements and the registry itself, they are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays at 202-303-3260.
Veteran and Military Business Owners Association
Another resource that is non-governmental, but still useful and free, is the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association or VAMBOA. They are a non-profit organization that offers a variety of unique resources. Perks such as introduction directly to companies and the ability to forge alliances with private and governmental agencies are among the mass benefits of VAMBOA. Also, networking within the association enables veterans to work with each other for services and referrals as well as training, certification and even corporate mentor programs, are all funneled through the service.
They also maintain a directory similar to the governmental registry and feature veteran owned businesses in their monthly newsletter. Miscellaneous benefits range from discounts on travel and hotel accommodations to discounted insurance, staffing, PR, call center, planning and coaching services, among others. All services require membership in their association, but for the added visibility it is a worthwhile choice. Note that they are more a networking opportunity that can benefit one greatly if used wisely. Attempting to avoid the ‘up-sales’ while taking full benefit of the free options is the key to making the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association yield the most benefit.
These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to small business veterans resources. There are a host of options to choose from. Americans are grateful for their service members and that is shown when a veteran makes known that they wish to become a small business owner. These advantages are earned through the dedication veterans have shown to our country and are well deserved.
Seth Mauzy is a writer for MilitaryVALoan.com, a site specializing in providing the best VA loans rates available to veterans. When not working with veterans, Seth can be found spending time with family and enjoying water skiing in the lakes around the southwestern United States.