Transitioning from the military culture to growing a small business as a civilian can be a significant challenge because of the drastic differences in the way of life a veteran has been living prior. It can also be difficult to find resources available to help veterans. We’ve reached out to experts who are veterans themselves and own a business or those who work with veteran business owners for any information or advice on resources to share. We hope you find it resourceful.
Colby Bowers, BBA, SMSgt (ret), USAF
Managing Partner, Veteran Pride Investment Group
The best advice I can give my fellow “vetranpreneurs” to grow their small business is to NETWORK! To get started with this, there are a number of resources out there that are great starting points. Patriot Boot Camp is a nonprofit that puts on free 3-day boot camps around the country for veteran startup businesses. Bunker Labs is another great nonprofit for veterans to utilize, they have chapters all over the country with monthly meetups and they offer a free online training program you can enroll in and network with hundreds of other veteran small business owners. I have used these two great programs to grow my business from an idea into over $1M in assets under management in 18 months and projected to double this in the next 8 months.
Veteran Pride Investment Group LLC is a real estate investment company with the mantra “Profits For A Purpose” We donate up to 20% of company net profits to sponsor and support veteran and first responder charities. www.veteranpride.org
Rafi Imran Amjad
Public Speaker and Entrepreneur
The University of Florida has an amazing fully funded program called the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP). Since I am a UF alum who studied Entrepreneurship, I know about it well.
Chris and Suzanne Garber, Co-Founders Gauze
My husband and I are the founders of Gauze, the most comprehensive digital network of hospitals outside the US that connects and informs the 1.2 billion international travelers who may find themselves sick abroad. My husband served in the US Army during the first Gulf war and we are considered an SDVOB and VIP certified, thanks to his service and the support of several VSOs (Veteran Service Organizations).
When we decided to start Gauze in 2015, we had no entrepreneurial background or understanding of how to run a small business. We’ve been through some amazing programs designed to help those in the military community expand their business prospects. Here are some:
IVMF—Institute for Veteran and Military Families, based out of Syracuse University, they offer full support to those starting or already started a small business. https://ivmf..syracuse.edu
EBV—Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans, part of IVMF, they offer a year long, “MBA in a box” program to give those in the military community academic, legal, and tech support for their ventures. https://ebvfoundation.org
Bunker Labs—an incubator for vetrepreneurs that guides them on a 5 month plan toward creating their company and beyond. They have had over 700 individuals/companies go through their doors to raise almost $30M in funding. https://bunkerlabs.org
GPVN—Greater Philadelphia Veteran Network, they offer a “Veteran Shark Tank” with a $25K purse! https://gpvn.org
VIP—National Veteran Institute for Procurement helps veterans become qualified to bid on government jobs for their small business. https://nationalvip.org/Home/Home.aspx
David Easterbrook, President, (Veteran Owned Small Business)
Visit VA.gov for advice. See their Office of Small Business for initial info. Using that site I found a local Junior College that offered a free business seminar for Veterans. That gave me expert, tailored advice on what was available to me. And it was free!
My biggest tip is to stay away from anything that you have to pay for. There are many companies out there that will try to sell services, or charge for seminars to veterans and you just don’t need that! There are plenty of resources out there at no charge.
Final tip is to utilize everything GSA Advantage has to offer. They offer a unique resource for government owned businesses to sell their products and services.”
Eric Stites Founder/CEO, U.S. Navy veteran
For a veteran who is looking for a new career upon returning home, franchising offers them the chance to be their own boss while using the skills they have developed throughout their service. With hundreds of thousands of franchise opportunities, finding the best opportunity can be challenging. We give prospective franchisees access to data that helps them understand which franchises are the best based on the ratings from other veteran franchise owners.
FBR is a national franchise market research firm that provides the only rankings of franchises based exclusively on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance. We also most recently released our list of some franchises that offer veterans discounts.
Gustavo Mayen, Esq. / MBA, Founder
Enlisted U.S. Marine 2003-2008
The advice I would give another veteran would be to reassess they business plan, financials, and structure in order to understand better what type of funding they would need and how to obtain it.
To that effect, I would suggest the veteran not only to reach to veteran mentors and networking, but also use great resources such as the SCORE team at the Small Business Administration (SBA). It is comprised of retired and volunteer executives, bankers, attorneys, etc. They can go over your plans and give you great input.
Reliant Funding 2018 Veterans Day Promotion
For the entire month of November, in honor of America’s veteran-owned businesses, Reliant Funding is offering an exclusive promotion to thank them for their service and sacrifice. If a veteran-owned business completes an application and funds a Reliant Funding advance this month, they will be eligible to receive a $250 cash rebate for all fundings over $10,000. Additionally, if you are a veteran and current client of Reliant Funding who is eligible for a renewal, you may also take advantage of this promotion. The cash rebate will be paid upon the confirmed financing of the advance. Proof of past or current military service is required to participate. Call us for details at 1-888-239-78655 or apply now.