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Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal a direct line to entrepreneurship

The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time with direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship. VEP makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source—and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information.

 

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

During the December Unit Training Assembly of the 156 Airlift Wing, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, a National Guard Bureau Diversity Program Staff Assistance Visit helped kick-off the first Lean-In Circle at any Air National Guard base in the U.S.

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, according to the agency, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales.

Many consider veterans to be the perfect entrepreneur. The Fire and Adjust website noted 10 reasons why veterans make good entrepreneurs: confidence, self-motivation, discipline, listening skills, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

“Veterans possess some of the most important skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac. “Leadership experience and the ability to calculate risk, manage teams and take initiative are invaluable characteristics of successful business owners.”

The following are some tips to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed in business:

  1. Leverage military training

Through their years in service, veterans learned valuable skills relevant to running a business, including confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

Veterans should make the most of their acquired skills and treat them as a competitive advantage. While these skills no longer mean making decisions that amount to the difference between life and death, they can be enlisted to keep a business alive and thriving.

  1. Set up a veteran-owned business

These days diversity programs extend beyond aiding minority- and women-owned programs. Programs within large corporations and government agencies assist veteran-owned and disabled-veteran-owned businesses. Veterans should seek out local, state and federal certifications that give priority to veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Check resources

Other organizations assist veteran-owned businesses. Check local SCOREchapters and the Boots to Business website to find resources that aid veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Seek out training

Running a business is not easy. Programs such as the one offered by Kauffman FastTrac or Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses can be beneficial. Veterans can also inquire about other training opportunities by contacting local community colleges, SCORE and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Network

Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. Apart from accruing business-development advantages from actively networking, veterans can receive valuable mentoring from other former servicepeople. Such relationships can be beneficial for dealing with business matters and challenges arising from having been in active service.

“The Office of Veterans Business Development’s (OVBD) mission is to maximize the availability, applicability and usability of small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their dependents or survivors. OVBD is SBA’s liaison with the veterans business community; provides policy analysis and reporting; and is as an Ombudsman for veteran entrepreneurs. OVBD has a number of programs and services to assist aspiring and existing veteran entrepreneurs such as training, counseling and mentorship, and oversight of Federal procurement programs for Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.”

You might be interested: JPMorgan Chase $1M investment supports Black and Latina entrepreneurs startups

Interesting facts about Women Veterans

veteran entrepreneur portal

Airmen participate in an all-women’s retreat at Osan Air Base, March 29, 2012. (U.S. Air Force/Craig Cisek)

  • As the share of women in the military increases, so does the share of veterans who are women. The 2010 Current Population Survey estimates that there are just over 22 million veterans, almost 1.8 million of whom are women (8%); and among the estimated 2.2 million post-9/11 veterans, more than 400,000 (19%) are women.
  • Today’s women veterans have served in every era dating back to World War II, when women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and other voluntary divisions served in positions other than nurses for the first time.
  • Nationally, the number of women vets using Veterans Health Administration (VA) services has nearly doubled (PDF) in the past decade, and VA hospitals and clinics have scrambled to meet the needs of their new patients.
  • The share of Hispanics among women and men in the armed forces is similar (13% vs. 12%, respectively), and the share of military women who are Hispanic is smaller than that of Hispanic women ages 18-44 in the U.S. civilian population (16%). But the number of Hispanics enlisting in the active-duty force each year has risen significantly over the last decade. In 2003, Hispanic women and men made up 11.5% of the new enlistees to the military; just seven years later, in 2010, they made up 16.9% of non-prior service enlisted accessions. (From Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile).

For additional information about the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal please visit https://www.va.gov/osdbu/entrepreneur/

 

 

Sgt. Michallie Wesley, an operations noncommissioned officer in B Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, answers a question as a panelist taking part in an interactive discussion on the theme of "Women Serving in Combat" at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jennifer Sardam) (released)

Veteran’s Day: Veterans make great entrepreneurs

In the near term more than 250,000 service members a year will transition into civilian life and become veterans, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This means the economy will likely experience a significant increase in veteran-owned businesses.

veterans

Sgt. Michallie Wesley, an operations noncommissioned officer in B Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division-Center, answers a question as a panelist taking part in an interactive discussion on the theme of “Women Serving in Combat” at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jennifer Sardam) (released)

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, according to the agency, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales.

Many consider veterans to be the perfect entrepreneur. The Fire and Adjust website noted 10 reasons why veterans make good entrepreneurs: confidence, self-motivation, discipline, listening skills, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

“Veterans possess some of the most important skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac. “Leadership experience and the ability to calculate risk, manage teams and take initiative are invaluable characteristics of successful business owners.”

The following are some tips to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed in business:

  1. Leverage military training.

Through their years in service, veterans learned valuable skills relevant to running a business, including confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.

Veterans should make the most of their acquired skills and treat them as a competitive advantage. While these skills no longer mean making decisions that amount to the difference between life and death, they can be enlisted to keep a business alive and thriving.

  1. Set up a veteran-owned business

These days diversity programs extend beyond aiding minority- and women-owned programs. Programs within large corporations and government agencies assist veteran-owned and disabled-veteran-owned businesses. Veterans should seek out local, state and federal certifications that give priority to veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Check resources

Other organizations assist veteran-owned businesses. Check local SCOREchapters and the Boots to Business website to find resources that aid veteran-owned businesses.

  1. Seek out training

Running a business is not easy. Programs such as the one offered by Kauffman FastTrac or Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses can be beneficial. Veterans can also inquire about other training opportunities by contacting local community colleges, SCORE and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Network

Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. Apart from accruing business-development advantages from actively networking, veterans can receive valuable mentoring from other former servicepeople. Such relationships can be beneficial for dealing with business matters and challenges arising from having been in active service.

The SBA helps entrepreneurs through its Small Business Development Center (or SBDC) program, providing management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. These centers offer one-stop assistance, including information and guidance, to individuals and small businesses in central and easily accessible branch locations.

*All graphs were extracted from the “2013 Minority Veterans Report” prepared by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and published on August 2015by the NCVAS National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.

Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer, far right, is the first woman in Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. Also pictured from the left, are Cadet First Class Jessica C. Tomazic, U.S. Military Academy; Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Cadet First Class Lily Zepeda, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Photo by Rudi Williams

Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer, far right, is the first woman in Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. Also pictured from the left, are Cadet First Class Jessica C. Tomazic, U.S. Military Academy; Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Cadet First Class Lily Zepeda, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. (Photo by Rudi Williams)

Interesting facts about Women Veterans

  • As the share of women in the military increases, so does the share of veterans who are women. The 2010 Current Population Survey estimates that there are just over 22 million veterans, almost 1.8 million of whom are women (8%); and among the estimated 2.2 million post-9/11 veterans, more than 400,000 (19%) are women.
  • Today’s women veterans have served in every era dating back to World War II, when women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and other voluntary divisions served in positions other than nurses for the first time.
  • Nationally, the number of women vets using Veterans Health Administration (VA) services has nearly doubled (PDF) in the past decade, and VA hospitals and clinics have scrambled to meet the needs of their new patients.
  • The share of Hispanics among women and men in the armed forces is similar (13% vs. 12%, respectively), and the share of military women who are Hispanic is smaller than that of Hispanic women ages 18-44 in the U.S. civilian population (16%). But the number of Hispanics enlisting in the active-duty force each year has risen significantly over the last decade. In 2003, Hispanic women and men made up 11.5% of the new enlistees to the military; just seven years later, in 2010, they made up 16.9% of non-prior service enlisted accessions. (From Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile).

Honoring our veterans with Dr. Zoppi Rodriguez

COL Zoppi CMD PictureLast October, I was honored to write an article about the Borinqueneers, a battalion formed by thousands of young Puerto Ricans that served in the US Army during World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict.

Their major struggle was not so much related to their bravery in the battlefield –they were known for their fierce and relentless fighting spirit– but for being victims of discrimination within the US Army. They were all men and all Puerto Ricans, and they faced the most perilous battles in each war. Women were not allowed to sign up for the Army at that time.

“Fortunately, not only women participate in the Army today but we also have leaders such as Brigadier Commander José Burgos, who understands that giving women the opportunity to take charge of leadership positions empowers them, inspires them, and allows and helps them to grow,” said Dr. Irene Zoppi Rodríguez, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and the first Deputy Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico.

With more than four decades of military, academic and professional experience, Dr. Zoppi also facilitates graduate courses in education and business for Strayer University. As a college professor, she brings her passion of empowerment and thought leadership to her students.

“As a teacher, I try to inspire young women and encourage them to grow to be ‘more’,” she said.

More, I asked?

“Every human being has a purpose in life. Many discover it at the end of their lives, when it is too late, becoming a wasted opportunity. We cannot put time in a box so it is up to us to realize our purpose in life as soon as we can. By discovering that purpose, we can fulfill our destiny within that purpose,” Dr. Zoppi said.

She explained that most people understand they need a roadmap for a vacation or a trip but many do not have roadmaps for their lives, their education and all the challenges that come with discovering that purpose. Most expect other people to tell them where to go or how to get there.

“Latinas particularly have Superpowers they are not aware of, and they need to find them soon in life. We don’t dress with ‘capas’ like Batman or Superman but we wear our confidence to confront many personal and professional challenges,” she said.

These are Superpowers Dr. Zoppi believes Latinas have:

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

Strayer University at Festival PEOPLE en Español

  1. Tenemos audacia (being audacious): Our internal fire overshadows all expectations of how we “should” be by breaking barriers and pushing up to face challenges, such as those trying to reunite their immigrant families.
  2. Somos fatales (being fatalists): We love watching telenovelas with our mothers, grandmothers and daughters, crying and understanding the struggle of the protagonist.
  3. Somos multifuncionales (being multifunctional): Without fear, we perform our functions at the best level and all at once. We cook, we dance, we sing, we work, we ask for permission and we apologize; and we do it in different languages too!
  4. Tenemos esperanza (having hope) We have the ability to do things with hope, always thinking what is next in our journey. We come to this country with the hope that we will find more for our families,
  5. Somos serviciales (fulfilling the needs of others) We are always making sure there is food for everybody, and that is not only in our kitchens!

All these superpowers make Latinas transactional and transformational leaders, according to Dr. Zoppi. “Not only we do the work, giving ourselves totally, but also we pass on those skills to everybody around us, at work, the family and the community.

So, she recommends, the sooner the better, discover your Superpowers and use them!