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Vets get expert help for their businesses

VERMONT — The U.S. Small Business Administration this month celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of our veteran small business owners during National Veterans Small Business Week, which was Nov. 1-5.

“National Veterans Small Business Week is a time to honor the service and celebrate the impact of our nearly 1.8 million veteran entrepreneurs who are a driving force in our economy, generating approximately $1 trillion annually and employing nearly 4 million people,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The SBA team is committed to providing the capital, marketplace opportunities and supportive network of Veterans Business Outreach Centers so that our veterans and military spouses can continue to do what they do best — face hardships head-on to build, innovate, and adapt their businesses to survive and thrive.”

Vermont hosts one of 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) located throughout the nation. VBOCs host the “Boots to Business” and “Boots to Business Reboot” programs, which offer courses on entrepreneurship on military installations and in local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2013, Boots to Business has trained and graduated more than 143,955 service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE CENTER

Pre-Business Plan Workshops

VBOCs conduct entrepreneurial development workshops dealing specifically with the major issues of self-employment. An important segment of these workshops entails the usage of the internet as a tool for developing and expanding businesses. Each client is afforded the opportunity to work directly with a business counselor.

Concept Assessments

VBOCs assist clients in assessing their entrepreneurial needs and requirements.

Business Plan Preparations

VBOCs assist clients in developing and maintaining a five-year business plan. The business plan includes such elements as the legal form of the business, equipment requirements and cost, organizational structure, a strategic plan, market analysis, and a financial plan. Financial plans include financial projections, budget projections, and funding requirements.

Comprehensive Feasibility Analysis

VBOCs provide assistance in identifying and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the business plan to increase the probability of success. The results of the analysis are utilized to revise the strategic planning portion of the business plan.

Entrepreneurial Training and Counseling

VBOCs, working with other SBA resource partners, target entrepreneurial training projects and counseling sessions tailored specifically to address the needs and concerns of the service-disabled veteran entrepreneur.

Mentorship

VBOCs conduct, as appropriate, onsite visits with clients to ensure adherence to their business plans. Additionally, VBOCs review monthly financial statements to determine whether a revision of the business plan is warranted or that desired results are being attained.

The VBOC is offering several online seminars and workshops to help veterans with business planning. The free online meetings include:

Steps for Starting a Business

Nov. 17, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Join Jennie Murphy, director of the VBOC of New England, who will help you to explore how to start a business. The online webinar will explore essential building blocks of business startup.

Opportunity Recognition for Entrepreneurs

Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

A small business expert will explore opportunity recognition through personal discovery or creative collaboration during this online webinar. Opportunity results when an idea is evaluated and acted upon. If you have a small business and are interested in diversification or if you are interested in starting a small business this webinar will be relevant to you.

Business Plan Basics

Dec. 1, noon to 1 p.m.

This online webinar will show you how to build the perfect business plan and teach you the need-to-knows of market research, marketing, financials and more. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a specific business idea, or if you have been operating your business for a few years but have not yet written a business plan, this workshop is for you.

Steps for Starting a Business

Dec. 6, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The online webinar will explore essential building blocks of business startup. You will leave with the information needed to guide you on your entrepreneurial journey.

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger, lauded the SBA for working with veterans.

“Our service members have our backs; it’s our responsibility to have their backs, too. That means ensuring veterans have the tools and resources they need to build and run a small business,” Crow said. “I’m proud to join in recognizing our veteran small business community as we continue investing in the strength and resiliency of American veterans.”

For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit sba.gov/veterans. To sign up for the online training head to sba-vboc.ecenterdirect.com and click on the “Training Events” link.

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