Veterans in Economic Transition – VETCON 2016. October 24 -25, 2016, Albany, NY. Come learn what it takes to be a small business owner! This conference is the first of its kind in the Capital Region held to help veterans as they make transitions into their future professional careers. It is an unprecedented collection of public and private businesses, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies gathering together for a worthy initiative. Register at


VIP START, a new addition to VIP programming, accelerates the success of Veteran owned small businesses into the Federal marketplace.  VIP GROW, the flagship program of VIP, accelerates the growth of Veteran owned small businesses in the federal marketplace.  VIP START – October 18 – 20, 2016.  VIP GROW – December 6-8, 2016, and something new, VIP INTL. – March 14 – 16, 2017.  Visit them on the web  to learn more and to register for these amazing programs.


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


Many military veterans are successful entrepreneurs because of the leadership qualities honed during their service. There are numerous resources available to help veteran owned businesses as they start up and grow.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA)

VAMBOA, a non-profit trade association, provides for the development, growth and prosperity of Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners of all sizes. VAMBOA’s future expansion includes establishing regional chapters throughout the country.


StreetShares is a social-lending marketplace that connects small business owners with investors. On the StreetShares marketplace, business owners pitch their stories directly to retail and institutional investors, who then place bids to fund a portion of the business owner’s requested loan.

21 Gun Salute Initiative

The General Services Administration’s program to support service-disabled veteran owned businesses is known as the 21 Gun Salute Initiative. The 21 Gun Salute was created with gratitude for the injured soldier turned businessperson. The Salute is an action plan to meet and exceed the 3% contracting goal with the nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

 American Corporate Partners

This non-profit organization offers veterans tools for long-term career development through mentoring, career counseling, and networking opportunities.

The Bunker

The goal of the Bunker is goal is to launch and accelerate veteran-owned businesses, channel the energy among veterans to become entrepreneurs and business owners, and create a new forum for high-performing veterans to meet and collaborate.


The BusinessUSA Veterans Resource tool is an interactive guide to help veteran business owners find the most relevant federal, state and local tools to help start and grow their businesses.

Boots to Business

Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The curriculum continuum includes steps for evaluating business concepts, the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan and information on SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance.

EBV Foundation

The EBV National Program offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as to military family members who serve in a caregiver role to a veteran with a service-connected disability. The program is offered at no cost. The foundation provides grants to graduates of the program and help with business plan development.


The Federal Business Opportunities website provides a portal for businesses looking for active federal contracting opportunities. While not restricted to veteran owned businesses, it can still be a useful resource for finding opportunities.

Honor Courage Commitment, Inc.

HCC provides resources and empowerment to veteran entrepreneurs including grants, scholarships and a fellowship program designed to build leadership qualities. HCC trains and positions military veterans to become successful entrepreneurs, business and community leaders by maximizing veteran talent.

Institute for Veteran and Military Families

A program of Syracuse University, IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans, and provides a wide variety of resources for military veterans. There are numerous resources for veterans re-entering the workforce or looking to start their own businesses.

National Veteran Business Development Council – NVBDC –

The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that will act as the certification body for Veteran Owned Businesses (VOB) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) to ensure that credible documentation exists of a business’s Veteran status, ownership and control. The NVBDC shall certify the validity of the VOB or SDVOB business seeking opportunity in the Supplier Diversity initiatives made available to veteran owned businesses.

National Veteran Small Business Coalition

This organization works to ensure that veteran owned small businesses are given first consideration for federal prime and subcontracting procurement opportunities. Members receive access to resources related to federal contracting.

Patriot Boot Camp

Patriot Boot Camp is an accelerator program focused on helping military veterans and their spouses become successful technology entrepreneurs. Open to all active duty military members, veterans and their spouses, the main program is a 3-day event that provides participants with free education, training and mentorship.

SBA Contracting Support for Small Businesses

The SBA offers resources for service-disabled veteran owned businesses looking to procure federal contracts. The SDVOSBC program allows procuring agencies to set aside contracts specifically for veteran owned businesses.


The VA’s VetBiz site provides information about the Center for Verification and Evaluation’s efforts to verify Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs).  SDVOSBs and VOSBs who want to participate in the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program must be verified by CVE in order to be eligible for VA contract set-asides.


VetBizCentral is a veteran run site that assists veteran and active duty military entrepreneurs in the formation and expansion of their businesses through training and counseling, networking opportunities, mentoring and advocacy.

Veteran Business Outreach Centers

The SBA provides assistance locally through Veteran Business Outreach Centers. The centers assist veterans in locating resources in their local communities, such as such as business training, counseling and mentoring.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

As part of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal provides access to a number of business tools and services, including starting and expanding a business, acquisition support, strategic support and more.

Veteran Fast Launch Initiative

The Veteran Fast Launch Initiative is a package of free software and services combined with SCORE’s mentoring program in order to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to start and succeed as small business owners.

Vetrepreneur Mentoring

Vetrepreneur Mentoring provides mentoring, guidance and expertise to help veteran entrepreneurs with everything from contractor registration to website creation.

Victory Spark

Victory Spark is a program of the larger Global Entrepreneurship Collective, Inc. umbrella. Specifically, Victory Spark focuses on servicing U.S. Military Veteran-led startups. The program includes a 12-week mentor-driven Lean LaunchPad Program, along with grant funding for entrepreneurs who complete the program.


An entrepreneurship project of the Whitman School of Management, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise) provides resources, courses and mentorship to female veterans who have started businesses or are looking to do so.


By Debbie Gregory.

The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program was recognized as one of 2015’s “Bright Ideas” by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

V-WISE is offered through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families at Syracuse University. The program provides comprehensive entrepreneurial training to women Veterans, active duty and female family members.

As part of a three-phase program, V-WISE is being offered to 200 participants per session. The program includes a growth track for participants already in business, and start-up training for new entrepreneurs.

“V-WISE is an important and timely resource for women, and we’re proud of the successful entrepreneurs who have used this program to start and grow their companies,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Being recognized by Harvard University is a confirmation of a successful partnership making strides to support the small business ownership dreams of so many women Veterans.”

For consideration as one of the Ash Center’s Bright Ideas, a program must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and be administered by one or more governmental entities.  Nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible only if they are operating in partnership with a governmental entity. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

The V-WISE program was singled out by the Ash Center as a creative government initiative that deserves to be recognized and replicated. The Government Innovators Network was launched by the Ash Center in 2003 to highlight original ideas generated by government leaders and their public sector partners. This is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Joint Program for Female Veterans Honored by Harvard: By Debbie Gregory