The public and private sectors – along with myriad advocacy groups – have scaled up efforts to support veterans who are looking to start a business throughout the past several years. Thanks to their inherent leadership skills and plenty of other strengths acquired in the military, veterans have been known to make exceptional managers, executives and entrepreneurs. With the economy running strong, now is a great time for veterans to step into business ownership.
"Resources are abundant for veteran entrepreneurs."
Resources span from specialized loan programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other groups – including private banks – to support and guidance from governmental agencies and advocacy organizations. As one of the more important aspects of succeeding in the enterprise is a sound understanding of business, degree programs are also expanding for the veteran entrepreneur community.
Southern California Public Radio recently reported that the University of Southern California has crafted a business degree program in such a way that specifically seeks to educate veterans, titled the Master of Business for Veterans. According to the news provider, roughly 140 service members have completed the program in the four years since its inception, and many have been especially happy with the lessons related to re-acclimation.
"We could be sitting around the table in a project group in the civilian world where there's nobody in charge – everybody is of equal status," Army veteran James Bogle told the source. "And you now have to figure out how to get the job done when there's nobody directing. Among the most important factors of your success in the civilian world are whether or not the people you work with like you. And that's simply not a factor in the military."
Interestingly, SCPR noted that about 20 percent of the veterans who have completed the degree went on to launch businesses of their own, showing just how effective the program is in leading service members toward entrepreneurship.
Military Times reported that one nonprofit, Bunker Labs, is touring the nation in efforts to give veterans an opportunity to pitch their small business ideas between this summer and next spring. The tour will be stopping in Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, the District of Columbia, Washington state and California over the next 10 months, while investors will be present to hear the entrepreneurial ideas of veterans in attendance.
The news provider noted that the chief executive officer of Bunker Labs, Navy veteran Todd Connor, is confident that this tour will have a positive impact on veterans who are looking to launch a business.
"Entrepreneurship is not a single-player sport," Connor told Military Times. "You need people, you need community, you need friends, you need customers, you need employees. Organizations like Bunker Labs pull together community and give them a place to show up both online and in person."
Veterans should take these opportunities to launch their business careers whenever they get the chance.