female soldier in business meeting
From hiring assistance to funding resources to courses on entrepreneurial skills, these six resources offer a wealth of information to veterans looking to transition into business. — Getty Images/SDI Productions

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 9% of all U.S. businesses are owned by veterans. The transferable skills and experience veterans have through military service, including leadership and team building, all encompass the attributes of a successful business owner. Veterans are capable of working under intense pressure and maintaining the discipline and responsibility needed to make their business idea a reality.

However, creating and developing veteran-owned small businesses is a unique process. In order to grow and develop, they often need resources to help get them started.

Challenges faced by veteran-owned small businesses

Contrary to the name, owning a small business is not a small feat. No matter the type of business, the challenges all small businesses face are similar. According to the MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, two main concerns reported by veteran-owned small businesses — generating capital and hiring the right talent — were the same concerns as non-veteran-owned small businesses.

However, since veteran-owned small businesses place a higher emphasis on hiring transitioning service members and veterans, there is a challenging balance between hiring service members and hiring those who have the right skill sets. With unique challenges such as these, it can be difficult for veteran business owners to reach their goals without support. We’ve compiled a list of the best resources to help veterans manage every aspect of their business.

[Read: Looking to Hire a Veteran? Here's How to Get Started]

However, since veteran-owned small businesses place a higher emphasis on hiring transitioning service members and veterans, there is a challenging balance between hiring service members and hiring those who have the right skill sets.

Top 6 resources for veteran entrepreneurs

There are several resources available to veterans looking to start their own businesses, offering courses on entrepreneurial skills, business plan creation and other information. Six of these top resources include:

Boots to Business

Boots to Business (B2B) offers an introductory overview of business ownership and baseline entrepreneurial skills for veterans and their family members. At this in-person, two-day seminar, veteran business owners are taught how to create a business plan and basic business concepts by subject matter experts from the SBA. After the “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” course, additional support is offered through Mississippi State University at no cost to veterans and their families.

Bunker Labs

With a mission to assist veterans in their small businesses, Bunker Labs is an incredible resource for veterans looking to begin their entrepreneurial journey. Veteran-owned and operated, Bunker Labs assists new veteran entrepreneurs with resources such as a newly available online course and local meetups with like-minded new business owners. They also have resources for established veteran-owned companies looking to take their business to the next level in their CEO Circle program.

[Read: 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Employee]

Patriot Boot Camp

Operating out of Boulder, Colorado, the Patriot Boot Camp (PBC) has a mission to provide current military service members, veterans and their families with mentors, educational programs and a community filled with top experts to assist them in creating successful businesses. PBC’s current three-day Boot Camp is their core program modeled after the Techstars’ accelerator. The program runs twice a year and provides mentoring and one-to-one support for new business owners, with locations varying each year. Check out their past programs and stay tuned for the next event near you.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA houses a wealth of resources to assist Americans in creating and growing their small businesses. The SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development (OVBD) is dedicated solely to veteran entrepreneurs. With centers across the country, online and in-person courses, and resources for funding, the OVBD is a must-have bookmark for all veteran small business owners.

Hiring Our Heroes

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program is also a helpful tool to consider when hiring and recruiting for your business. Hiring Our Heroes is dedicated to assist transitioning service members, veterans and their families find meaningful employment opportunities.

V-WISE

Created especially for active duty and female veterans, Veteran Women Inspiring the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) holds a three-phase program in entrepreneurship and business management. The three phases include a 15-day online course followed by a mandatory in-person entrepreneurship training and continued support, mentorship and training for alumni launching or growing their business.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published October 23, 2019