AMGEN
BMS-center-logo
 

boots_to_business

By Debbie Gregory.

I must sound like a broken record when I say that the traits and skills our nation’s service members possess make them great entrepreneurs, and that military service is one of the leading indicators of entrepreneurial success. Now the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) backs this up with statistics that reveal veterans are 45% more likely to be entrepreneurs than non-veterans, and over 13% of veterans have been self-employed in recent years.

Part of that success might be due to the many resources available to help budding entrepreneurs start and run their small businesses, once they leave the military. In fact, over the last three years, more than 35,000 transitioning service members and military spouses have participated in the SBA’s Boots to Business entrepreneurship training program, presented in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Since not every veteran has access to the Boots to Business program, here are some important tips to stay the course:

  1. Lean on your military skills, traits and experience. While in the military, your ability to lead, bounce back, and push through served you well. Likewise, these abilities will serve you well as a great entrepreneur or small business owner.
  1. Know the difference between an opportunity and an idea. While an opportunity could parlay into a business, an idea is more of a feeling or notion that could be fleeting and lead to a failed venture. Try to brainstorm with the people you trust will give you honest feedback, or pull together a focus group.
  1. Analyze the market. Is there a market need for what you are offering? Who will be your customers? Why will they be your customer vs. your competitors’?
  1. Know where to find funding, and be aware of all the financial risks. Will you be tapping friends and family, a bank loans, or outside investors? The SBA has numerous financial resources and SBA-guaranteed loans are an excellent form of funding for veteran startups. T
  1. Make sure you do a feasibility analysis to make sure you know whether or not small business ownership is right for you. A New Venture Feasibility Analysis Tool is available on the Boots to Business website here: http://boots2business.org/resources/
  1. Remember that your business, and ultimately your success, depends on YOU.

smbusiness

If you are on VAMBOA’s blog, chances are that you already know that veterans are twice as likely as their civilian counterparts to jump into entrepreneurship. And according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), one in ten small businesses boasts a veteran at the helm.

Why do so many veterans become entrepreneurs post-military? For many, it’s a way to leverage the unique skills they acquired through their service into long term success. It is also a way to contribute to the country’s economy.

There are a number of resources available to aid veteran entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Of course, joining a trade association like VAMBOA is a great step. VAMBOA has numerous resources, including contract opportunities, events, mentorship and more. Membership is free.

The SBA’s Boots to Business training program provides free entrepreneurial training for U.S. veterans. The program is available to service members transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military, as well as to their dependents.

Designed specifically for post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans National Program leverages the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management. The aim of the program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) helps active duty U.S. service members develop the career skills necessary to meet the IT industry’s high demand for cloud developers, cloud administrators, and database and business intelligence administrators. Upon successful completion of the program, participants gain an interview for a full-time job at Microsoft or one of their participating partners.

In order to take advantage of these resources, it is important to sure you have the certification you need to verify that your business is veteran-owned. Certification is available through the National Veteran Business Development Council. The turn-around time for certification averages 60 days from the initial application, but can also be fast-tracked if your company has previously been authorized by

  • Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE)
  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

The cost to submit an application is based on revenues.

vetfl

By Debbie Gregory.

For many veterans, entrepreneurship has proven to be a viable next career path as the experience, discipline, and work ethic learned in the military provides a competitive edge for starting a business.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is currently accepting applications for the pilot program, which will launch its first phase in March. The statewide initiative offers qualified veterans the opportunity to receive an accelerated entrepreneurship education at no cost.

Veterans Florida, a non-profit created by the Florida Legislature to attract and retain veterans, selected the University of West Florida, through its Florida SBDC Network and Military Veterans Resource Center, to administer the program.

In order to meet the program requirements, veterans must have been either honorably discharged, current National Guardsmen or Reservists, or active duty within one year of separation.  Also required is Florida residency, and of course, a strong interest in entrepreneurship.

The first phase of the program consists of an eight-week online class,which will provide participants with a strong business foundation.

The next phase consists of six days (over three consecutive weekends) of on-site training at one of the five participating institutions of higher education: The University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University, and Hillsborough Community College. All travel expenses will be covered for participants.

The final phase of the program consists of six-months of ongoing mentorship with Florida SBDC Network business consultants.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is funded through a $1 million appropriation by the Florida Legislature.

“Veterans possess many of the skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Bobby Carbonell, Executive Director of Veterans Florida. “The technical and financial skills provided from this program, along with the motivation, confidence, attention to detail and problem solving skills they bring, will ensure veterans achieve their vision of the American Dream, owning their own business.”

Space is limited. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2016. For more information, and to apply, please visit www.FloridaVetBiz.org.

vamboaa

Owning your own business, being your own boss – it’s the American dream. You can see it every Friday night on Shark Tank, or in commercials for Small Business Saturdays. It’s no surprise that military veterans make excellent entrepreneurs because of the skills they gained while serving. And in a challenging economy when jobs for military veterans may be scarce, a great option for veterans is to start their own business.

Entrepreneurs can be at the helm of a mom & pop corner store, or a major corporation like Enterprise Rental Car or Starbucks. But just because you have many of the required skills to be an entrepreneur, that doesn’t guarantee success.

A military veteran benefit for entrepreneurs comes in the form of a boost from the VA when starting or growing a business. While everyone knows that a major veteran benefit is education for veterans, many may not know that the VA will pay for other programs. Education for veterans offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States, is one such program.

Entrepreneurship training through the SBDC allows eligible service members and veterans to use VA education benefits to take courses they offer. SBDCs can help you plan your veteran finances with business plan development, procurement, market research, lending assistance and more.

Those who are eligible to receive reimbursement for approved entrepreneurship courses include those eligible for any of the following VA Education Programs:

  • Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
  • Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill

For additional information on using your military veteran benefits with SBDCs, visit the VA Entrepreneurship Training Web page.

To locate course offerings near you, or view training opportunities on the web, contact the Small Business Development Center directly athttp://www.sba.gov/sbdc/ or by phone at 800-8 ASK SBA.

oshkosh

By Debbie Gregory.

Last week, Lockheed Martin Corp. officials announced that they have filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon over the U.S. Army’s decision to award a $6.75 billion contract to Oshkosh Corporation.

The contract is to build a replacement for the Humvee combat vehicle.

The Army plans to buy about 55,000 of the multipurpose vehicles for its troops and the Marine Corps through 2040, spending an estimated $30 billion. Oshkosh in August was awarded the initial order for about 17,000 JLTVs, which are more heavily armored than the Humvees they will replace.

“After careful consideration of all options, Lockheed Martin decided to file a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims concerning our Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) contract award process,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to working with all parties involved on the next steps.”

A hearing was scheduled for Friday before Judge Charles Lettow. Lettow granted Lockheed’s motion to seal its complaint against the contract award. Lettow also sealed a Lockheed motion for an injunction in the case, but has not yet ruled on that move, court papers show.

The government’s answer is due by February16th.

Oshkosh Vice President John Urias said he believed the court will uphold the Army’s selection.

Oshkosh Corporation, based in Oshkosh, WI, was ranked the 48th largest American defense contractor for 2015 by Defense News. Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, MD, ranked first.

Urias stated that he had confidence in the Army’s procurement process, which he said included “exhaustive testing and evaluation to ensure our troops get the best vehicle.”

Because Department of Defense spending has been shrinking, competition for military contacts has tightened in recent years. While the number of contract protests filed with the GAO rose 5 percent in 2014 fiscal year, successful protests fell from 17 percent in 13 percent.

StreetShares