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ivmf

By Debbie Gregory.

A new study is poised to gain insight into the newest generation of veteran entrepreneurs, with the collected data being utilized to develop policies and programs to support their successes.

The study is collaboration between the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and Bunker Labs, the leading incubator for veteran-owned businesses in America.

This joint research effort will provide insights that will hopefully increase the current rate of veteran entrepreneurship, and increase the success of existing veteran entrepreneurs.

IVMF offers  a number of programs, including the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Families,  Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Operation Boots to Business, Boots to Business Reboot, Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship, Coalition for Veteran Owned Business, VETNET, and the VetSmallBiz Challenge.

More than 32,000 veterans, service members and military spouses participated in IVMF programs in 2015.

The IVMF research team will conduct qualitative and quantitative research at Bunker Labs locations across the country. The use of focus groups and surveys will also allow the participation of female veteran entrepreneurs, which is seeing a dramatic increase in numbers.

The research outcome is designed to understand all aspects of veteran entrepreneurship, especially the obstacles and challenges that are involved in the process. The findings will no doubt reveal insights that can be scaled into larger solutions to support the next generation of veteran entrepreneurs.

Funded by the IVMF’s Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship, the research will create benchmarks that will lay the groundwork to inform the design of future national studies on veteran entrepreneurs. The research this spring will culminate in findings being reported out nationally in summer 2017.

Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs wanting to participate in the research can learn more here.

sba

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

Earlier this year, the SBA implemented a new measure to help get small business loans into the hands of veterans.  To continue supporting America’s veterans, the SBA Veterans Advantage reduces the up-front guaranty fee from 3% to 0% for SBA Express loans over $150,000 approved to small businesses owned by qualified veterans.

The SBA has implemented this measure in order to encourage greater participation in SBA lending programs with a direct benefit to veteran-owned small businesses.

This measure set the borrower upfront fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express program (up to $350,000) which accounts for 73 percent of these loans.  The initiative started on January 1st, and will continue through the end of the fiscal year.

This change makes loans more affordable for borrowers.

Again, this policy announcement means that under the SBA Express program, veteran borrowers will no longer have to pay any upfront fee for any loan up to $350,000.

SBA provides veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses.   And since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.

Businesses must be 51% or more owned and controlled by an individual or individuals in one or more of the following groups: Veterans (other than dishonorably discharged); Service-Disabled Veterans; Active Duty Military service member participating in the military’s Transition  Assistance Program (TAP); Reservists and National Guard Members; or the Current spouse of any Veteran, Active Duty service member, or any Reservist or National Guard member; or widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability.

 

streetsharesfoundation

By Debbie Gregory

StreetShares, Inc., one of VAMBOA’s strategic partners, is a lending and investing community for veterans and their supporters. StreetShares’ principals have announced the formation of the StreetShares Foundation.

The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate, and support veteran small business owners. The foundation is partnering with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

Both StreetShares Foundation and StreetShares, Inc. are veteran-operated..

Iraq War veteran Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO/Co-Founder of StreetShares, said, “Veteran business ownership has been the backbone of the United States economy since World War II. The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to provide a new generation of veteran and military-spouse small business owners the support they need to thrive.”

The Foundation plans to give three Veteran Small Business Awards each month. Small businesses owned by military veterans, current reserve or active duty members, and qualified military spouses are eligible to apply. The awards are $2,000 for third place, $3,000 for second place, and $5,000 for the first place winner.

Award applications and educational material can be found on the foundation’s website at StreetShares.com/Foundation.

StreetShares had previously conducted a small award program. Last year’s winners collectively reported increasing revenues by over $1 million, hiring 24 new employees, and scoring a “Shark Tank” TV show appearance. With sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase and others, the StreetShares Foundation has plans to substantially expand the award program.

The Veteran Small Business Award program encourages everyone who supports veterans and entrepreneurship to participate in voting for their favorite veteran business at StreetShares.com/Foundation. Finalists will be presented for public vote each month.

We at VAMBOA are proud to partner with StreetShares and further the opportunities they present to military owned and veteran owned businesses.

vetbizchallenge

The Institute For Veterans and Military Families is presenting the VetSmallBiz Growth Challenge – a Business Plan Competition developed for veteran entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to the next level.  This unique competition offers elite growth and pitch coaching prior to the competition finals.  Winners will receive exposure to a distinguished judging panel, access to capital – $100K in total to be awarded – and three months of individualized coaching.  This Challenge is offered through the generous support of The Marcus Foundation and is open to U.S. service member and veteran entrepreneurs of all eras of service. Applications will be accepted through December 18, 2016.

Semifinalists will receive three weeks of elite growth coaching with their fellow competitors in an online group setting before they get to the finale. Winners will receive three months of growth coaching after the competition comes to a close.  The finale is a one-day challenge event that will expose the finalists to a distinguished group of judges and the opportunity to learn from each other during their 20-minute venture pitch round.

PRIZES:

1st – $50,000

2nd – $25,000

3rd – $10,000

Best Venture Impacting Veterans – $5,000

Most Innovative – $5,000

Best Social Venture – $5,000

Semifinalists – Pitch Coaching

Finalists – Growth Coaching

GRAND FINALE:

Georgia Aquarium 

225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Friday, March 3, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Event Contact: Kim Street, Program Manager, kmstreet@syr.edu, (315) 443-9512

fraud2

By Debbie Gregory.

Sean C. Page is going to prison. The 45-year-old man from Frisco, Texas was convicted of using his father’s identity to land lucrative federal government contracts under a set-aside program for disabled veterans.

Page, who has never served in the military, was sentenced to serve six year in federal prison for theft of government property and two counts of aggravated identity theft. He was convicted by a jury in February.

He used his father’s name and Social Security number to cash in on his veteran disability status, according to prosecutors.

Dalton Page was unaware of his son’s illegal activities. The combat veteran served in the U.S. Army for 17 years, and was awarded two Bronze Stars during his service in Vietnam, and received a disability rating of 100 percent upon discharge.

Page scammed the federal contracting program out of about $1.2 million with 14 contracts from 2009 to 2013 using two companies he formed, according to officials.

He created 12G Resources Group and Premier Building Maintenance to provide general services such as cleaning and landscape work for veteran-owned facilities, the indictment said.

The programs are for the benefit of service disabled veteran businesses.

“Those who steal and attempt to steal monies from these programs will be vigorously prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney John M. Bales of the Eastern District of Texas.

Dalton Page said, “Sean is my son, but those programs are set aside for GIs such as myself. I am very disappointed in him getting those contracts like that. The contracts were put in my name. He had me backed in a corner.”

Page continued to do federal contract work after his October 2014 arraignment in violation of a federal judge’s order, court records show. He earned $35,175 from a landscaping and snow removal job with the Veterans Medical Center of Salt Lake City while he was out on bond.

StreetShares