Basic training: 3 great resources for ‘vetrepreneurs’
More than 1 million soldiers, sailors and other military members will return to civilian life between now and 2016. To help them branch out on their own as entrepreneurs, three new resources are available locally, nationwide and online:
Free class in Norfolk
The Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center will offer “Entrepreneurism for the Military Veteran” from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 18 at the Old Dominion University Business Gateway in Norfolk. Mike Provance, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at ODU’s business college, will teach the free course. It covers the basics of starting and operating a business, from product development to business financing. To register, visit the HRVBODC’s sign-up page for the course.
Online franchise help for vets
Interested in owning a franchise? The VetFran Toolkit reveals if you’re a good fit for Smoothie King, Sport Clips, Massage Envy and hundreds of other franchise businesses. Launched on July 4 by the International Franchise Association, the Tookit includes a Franchising 101 course and a skills assessment. A mentor network is also available for users. The new service is part of IFA’s effort to recruit 75,000 veterans and spouses, plus 5,000 wounded warriors, as franchise owners or franchise employees.
‘Boots to Business’
The U.S. Small Business Administration is testing a program to help veterans and transitioning military members become entrepreneurs. Announced on July 12, “Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup” will begin as a pilot program with the U.S. Marine Corps in four cities, including Quantico, Va. It expands nationwide, to all branches of the military, in 2013.
The program offers an on-site orientation at military bases around the country. For those who want to pursue business ownership, “Boots to Business” then provides eight weeks of intensive online training. The curriculum was developed specifically for veterans by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
The other pilot cities are Cherry Point, N.C.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. The program is a partnership between the SBA, the departments of defense and veterans affairs, and Syracuse University. To learn more, visit the SBA’s “Boots to Business” page online.