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vamboa article

By Debbie Gregory.

We still have hope that the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act, originally proposed in 2015, will be passed. The legislation would allow the SBA to conduct a 3-year pilot program for up to 250 budding veteran entrepreneurs to use their GI Bill benefits to start a business. While it had widespread support from veterans’ groups, it didn’t receive a full Congressional vote before the end of the year. Perhaps the new Congress will see the merits of this legislation, and get it passed. Until then, here are some resources that veteran business owners should be taking advantage of:

Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors is a program offered by non-profit VetToCEO. The free 7-week online program is comprised of  seven two-hour modules that give you  the basics of starting your own business. With rolling enrollment, veterans can join the program at any time.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) is a free training program for post-9/11 veterans with a service-connected disability. This program is offered through a consortium of universities including Cornell, Syracuse, Florida State, UCLA, Texas A&M, Purdue, UConn, LSU, Saint Joseph’s, and the University of Missouri. EBV consists of an online, instructor-led 30-day curriculum, followed by a 9-day in-residence session at the university. EBV programs run from March through November each year on a first-come, first-served basis.

Patriot Boot Camp is geared towards technology entrepreneurs.  Attendance at PBC is encouraged if you’re considering a tech startup. PBC is free to veterans, active-duty members, and spouses.

Bunker Labs offers the Bunker in a Box program,  an online mini-course in veterans entrepreneurship. Lessons feature a short video from the Bunker team, as well as articles, interviews, podcasts and presentations from prominent entrepreneurs and experts.

StreetShares Foundation is the non-profit arm of the military social lending platform, StreetShares. The foundation staff selects 5-10 finalists each month, based on: business idea, product-market fit, team and company history, use of award funds and potential impact, and influence of the business on the military and veterans community. First, second, and third-place awards of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 are awarded.

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is a good resource for training, counseling and mentoring, and resource referrals. VBOCs also provide transition assistance programs via Boots to Business part of the military’s formal Transition Assistance Program, offered on military installations around the world. Boots to Business assists service members, military spouses and veterans identify business opportunities, draft their business plans, and launch their enterprises. Other programs supported by OVBD are geared specifically for women veterans, service-disabled veterans, and veterans interested in federal procurement.

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, symptoms 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.

america salutes you

MilitaryConnection.com, prostate one of the most comprehensive directories of military and veteran resources on the web, rx and non-profit trade association VAMBOA, viagra sale the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association are proud to announce that they have joined forces to host the “America Salutes You” VIP reception.

The VIP reception will follow the “America Salutes You” live concert on November 12th at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago, Il. Performers include pop legend Cyndi Lauper, singer/songwriter extraordinaire Gavin McGraw, country music legend Wanda Jackson, rapper Hoodie Allen, Gospel Grammy winner CeCe Winans, world-renowned tenor Anthony Kearns, bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, rising country stars Tegan Marie and Savannah Maddison, and many others. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0400515AA4A51339.

Text and online fundraising will take place during the concert’s broadcast on television, radio and via stream. Money raised by the concert will benefit several non-profits that serve military, veterans and their families including: the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Easterseals Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, Give an Hour, Honor Flight Network, Illinois Joining Forces, Joining Forces California, Snowball Express, TAPS and ThanksUSA. Sponsorship opportunities are available, with all funds supporting the concert production, partner charities and foundations.

“We have asked those who serve, past and present, to leave their home and their loved ones to protect our freedoms,” said Debbie Gregory, CEO of MilitaryConnection.com. “After 14 years of war, the number of men and women who have donned our country’s uniform and served multiple tours of combat duty is the largest in modern American history. We owe them a huge debt, and we can repay it by remembering their sacrifices and providing the resources for them to achieve the American Dream.”

“America Salutes You” will stream live on LiveStream, Military.com, TV Worldwide and will be offered to radio stations nationally by Westwood One. The nationally televised concert will air over Thanksgiving weekend on Tribune Broadcasting and Sinclair Broadcast Group stations. To find your local schedule, visit http://americasalutesyou.org/viewlisten/.

About America Salutes You
This concert, which will air nationally, benefits those who serve in the U.S. military, and will take place on Saturday, November 12th 8pm Central time at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago. Performers include pop legend Cyndi Lauper, country music legend Wanda Jackson, rapper Hoodie Allen, Gospel Grammy winner CeCe Winans, world-renowned tenor Anthony Kearns, bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, rising country star Tegan Marie and many others. Text and online fundraising will take place during the concert’s broadcast on television, radio and via stream.

About MilitaryConnection.com
MilitaryConnection.com offers one of the most comprehensive directories of military and Veteran resources on the web, focusing on employment, education and more. Military Connection has been named a Top 100 Employment Web Site by the International Association of Employment Web Sites for five years in a row. It is that focus on employment that garnered MilitaryConnection.com one of the prestigious Weddle’s Users Choice Awards for 2015. Military Connection features thousands of pages of resources and information. There is something for everyone including, but not limited to a Job Board and Virtual Job Fair, comprehensive Post 9/11 GI Bill education information with a directory of thousands of scholarships and a Veteran school directory, news, press releases, special events, pay charts, benefits, service directories, commissaries and exchanges, golf courses and more. Military Connection has the honor of working with incredible non-profits to improve the quality of life for those who serve. When the next tour is back home, it’s on Military Connection, the Go To Site.

About VAMBOA
VAMBOA, a 501(c) 6 non-profit organization, has been providing its members with knowledge of government provisions that help service-disabled veteran business owners, Veteran business owners and military business owners since 2010. VAMBOA’s mission is to help drive the success of these veteran business owners. VAMBOA also connects it members to contacts within large corporations and government agencies who can mentor members, and in some cases, can even directly provide members with government contracts and vending contracts within large corporations. Membership in VAMBOA is free.

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