Veterans who are business owners or veterans who would like to become business owners can take advantage of a variety of programs and events that are planned throughout the year, around the country.
For example, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities immerses participants in entrepreneurial training—and it picks up the participants’ costs. Other events, like the Keeping the Promise Expo scheduled for May in Los Angeles, give disabled-veteran business owners and representatives of corporations and government agencies the opportunity to get together.
Here is a smattering of the programs and events available to veterans in 2011. If you know about more programs, share them in the comments below.
Ongoing: Training programs and events, countrywide
The Veterans Corporation has a list of training programs and events in various states, such as the “EntreSkills for Veterans” program from the New York State Small Business Development Center.
For more information, visit http://www.veteranscorp.org/training/.
Ongoing: Vendor Counseling Sessions at the Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers “How to do business with the VA” sessions for vendors, each month in the District of Columbia. Registration is required.
VA representatives also attend a variety of small-business conferences around the country. To see the list of conferences, click here.
May 23-24, 2011: Keeping the Promise Expo, Los Angeles, Calif.
The promise referred to in “Keeping the Promise” is based on the excerpt, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle,” from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
“[Lincoln] said that this nation should bear the cost of those who have borne the battle,” said Rick Reed, media contact for the event. “We try to take care of our own, and that’s why we have [such programs].”
The Keeping the Promise Expo creates an opportunity for representatives from disabled-veteran-owned businesses to network with representatives from government agencies, private companies, utility companies, school districts, and other people who want to support veteran-owned companies, Reed said.
The California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance is the host of the Keeping the Promise Expo.
Rich Dryden, the Alliance’s executive director, said that expo activities include the presentation of awards, a membership meeting, and business matchmaking.
This year’s guest-speaker lineup was not finalized as of press time. Past speakers include U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Medal of Honor recipients Jack Lucas and Ted Rubin, and celebrities Tommy Lasorda, John Voight, and Tony Orlando.
Dryden said that he expected to have representatives from McKesson and CVS Caremark, the expo’s sponsors, at the expo.
“It’s important to know that we’re also inviting veteran-owned businesses and disabled-owned businesses from out of state,” Dryden said.
For more information, visit http://www.ktpexpo.org/.
Summer 2011: Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, various locations
According to the EBV website, the program “offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country.”
Veterans who meet the criteria to participate in the EBV can do so free of charge—the schools absorb the costs of the program, as well as room and board and travel expenses.
“It is our position that through your service, you have already earned the price of admission,” the website reads. “We have assumed the responsibility to raise the necessary funds to cover all costs associated with the bootcamp.”
In addition to being open to post-9/11 veterans, the program is also open to people currently exiting military service.
In 2007, members of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University created the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
Since 2007, other universities have picked up the program. The bootcamp is now held at Syracuse University, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M, Florida State University, Purdue University, UCLA, and University of Connecticut.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 programs. The 2011 program dates are not yet set, but the programs will most likely run from June through August.
For more information, call Ellie at 315-443-6007 or visit http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv/.
October-December, 2011: Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families, Syracuse University
The Whitman School of Management also developed the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families.
The program absorbs the costs for participants. It is currently only offered at Syracuse University, but there are hopes to expand it to other locations in the future.
For information, call Ellie at 315-443-6007 or visit http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv/programs/families/.
TBD/Spring 2011: Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) initiative, various locations
The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and the U.S. Small Business Administration are teaming up to present the Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) initiative.
The three-phase program, which includes online training, three-day in-person training, and support, is open to women veterans from all military branches and will be offered in six locations across the country.
The program covers some costs, such as lodging and some meals. Participants pay certain costs as well, including registration and transportation.
For more information, visit http://www.whitman.syr.edu/vwise/.
August 15-18, 2011: 7th Annual National Veterans Small Business Conference, New Orleans
The National Veterans Small Business Conference is kind of a big deal. The 2010 conference drew more than 3,000 veteran business owners, disabled veteran business owners, contractors and federal agencies to Las Vegas, according to the conference website.
This year’s attendance is expected to reach or exceed 3,500 people.
For more information, visit http://www.nationalveteransconference.com/.
October 15, 2011: Interagency Task Force Report to be released
President Obama’s Interagency Task Force on Veteran Small Business Development is scheduled to release its first report by Oct. 15. Obama established the interagency taskforce on April 26, 2010 by signing an executive order. For more information, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/18/a-task-force-veteran-small-business-development.
Additional resources exist for veterans who are business owners or veterans who would like to become business owners. Here are some places to start:
Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service
Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Veterans Enterprise Web Portal
Military Spouse Business Association
National Veteran-Owned Business Association
Operation Endure and Grow (program for National Guard and reserve members, and members of their families)
Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Council
The American Legion
U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Veterans Business Development
Veterans’ Entrepreneurship Task Force