Veterans Business Centers Receive Funding To Expand Entrepreneurship Outreach
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced funding today in the total grant amount of $3.8 million for 14 Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). The funding will enable each VBOC to counsel, train, and provide assistance, comprehensive business assessment and mentoring to veteran and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs, in addition to Reserve Component, National Guard and transitioning service members interested in starting or expanding a small business.
The following award recipients including both new and returning VBOCs have been awarded funding by the SBA:
New VBOC Award Recipients
Syracuse University Whitman School of Management, Syracuse, N.Y.
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss.
Big Sky Economic Development Authority, Billings, Mont.
WBDC Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
Community Business Partnership, Springfield, Va.
Returning VBOC Award Recipients
Research Foundation SUNY, Albany, N.Y.
Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center, Norfolk, Va.
VBOC at Gulf Coast State College, Panama City, Fla.
VBOC at Fayetteville State Univ., Fayetteville, N.C.
VetBiz Central Inc., Flint Mich.
University of Texas Pan-American, Edinburg, Texas
NM Veterans Business Outreach Center, Albuquerque, N.M.
Veterans Advocacy Foundation Inc., St. Louis, Mo.
Veterans Business Outreach Center, Seattle, Wash.
“The SBA congratulates this team of stellar VBOC award recipients. VBOCs play a significant role in the veteran community,” said Barbara Carson, Acting Associate Administrator, SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development (OVBD). “We look forward to working closely with these centers to provide resources to enhance entrepreneurship opportunities for veterans as they continue to serve our country by contributing to the local economy and creating jobs in their communities.”
A key responsibility of the VBOCs is to support transitioning service members as they embark on post military service careers that often include small business ownership and other forms of self-employment. A portion of the funding will be used to cover costs associated with coordinating, delivering, and conducting outreach to increase participation in the entrepreneurship track of the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) Transition Assistance Program (TAP), known as Boots to Business, on military installations in the continental United States and its territories. VBOCs are directed by the Small Business Act to participate in the DOD’s Transition Assistance Program.
Initiated as a pilot in 2012 and expanded nationally in 2013, Boots to Business leverages SBA resource partners including VBOCs, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers (WBC), SCORE, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University to deliver entrepreneurship education and training to transitioning service members, Reservists and National Guard members as well as their spouses or caregivers who are exploring or pursuing small business ownership.
The nationwide VBOC competition was open to all eligible institutions of higher learning, private organizations or businesses, veterans’ nonprofit community-based organizations, state, local or tribal governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. Each award is made for a base project period of 12 months, with up to two renewal option periods of 12 months each.
The mission of SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development is to formulate, execute and promote policies and programs to empower veteran small business ownership through education and access to capital. The office also serves as the Ombudsman for Veterans in SBA programs, to act as a liaison with the veterans’ business community, to provide business training and counseling assistance, and to oversee the federal procurement programs to veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
Each year the SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists start and grow their small businesses. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.