The U.S. Small Business Administration this week announced the awarding of $6.6 million in funding to 22 organizations to provide training and counseling to current and aspiring veteran small business owners as a Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).
The funding opportunity, offered by SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development, is a one-year initial award with up to four additional one-year option periods, subject to the availability of funds.
Each VBOC provides entrepreneurship training to military service members and military spouses through the Boots to Business Entrepreneurship Training Program, the business training track under the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program.
“Nearly one in 10 small businesses in the U.S. is owned by a veteran – and we continue to see these numbers grow,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “SBA is proud to work with our grantee organizations, like the Veterans Business Outreach Centers, to prepare veterans to succeed as entrepreneurs. Their success is our nation’s success.”
In addition to transitioning service members and veteran small business owners, VBOCs also serve other members of the military entrepreneurship community, including active duty service members, veterans of all eras, National Guard and Reserve component members, and military spouses who aspire to be or are existing business owners.
“In 2017, VBOCs provided training and counseling to more than 48,000 clients,” said Barb Carson, Associate Administrator for SBA‘s Office of Veterans Business Development. “The addition of two new VBOCs, in conjunction with full geographic coverage, enables us to achieve more for our veteran and military entrepreneurs. I look forward to the progress we can make together.”
The award expands the existing VBOC network from 20 to 22 centers nationwide. Each of the awardees display proven commitment and continued excellence in providing wide-ranging entrepreneurial resources to the veteran and military community. Meanwhile, five new VBOCs will join the network:
- A New Leaf, Inc., through the Arizona Women’s Education and Entrepreneur Center (AWEEc) – Phoenix, Ariz. – coverage area: Arizona. AWEEc has extensive entrepreneurial training experience and created innovative programs that include the DreamBuilder Academy, which offers instruction around the DreamBuilder online platform developed by the Thunderbird School of Global Management to teach basic concepts critical for starting a business.
- Southeast Community Capitol Corporation, DLB Pathway Lending – Nashville, Tenn. – coverage area: Tennessee and Kentucky. In 2017, Pathway Lending provided 8,152 hours of individual and classroom training to 883 clients, held 175 training events, and originated 142 loans totaling $40.27 million.
- Central Georgia Technical College-Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource (VECTR) Center – Warner Robbins, Ga. – coverage area: Georgia and South Carolina. VECTR Center is a one-stop shop hosting partners from Georgia Department of Veterans Services, Georgia Department of Labor, the local Workforce Board, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the United Way/Mission United to collaboratively meet the needs of military, veterans and their families.
- University of North Dakota (UND) College of Business and Public Administration – Grand Forks, N.D. – coverage area: North and South Dakota. UND’s College of Business & Public Administration is home to the School of Entrepreneurship, and the Department of Military Sciences – Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
- WWBIC (Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation) – Racine, Wis. – coverage area: Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. During the past 30 years, WWBIC has assisted 60,145 individuals, loaned $60 million to small business borrowers, helped create and retain 10,725 jobs through business education, technical assistance, revolving loan funds, and SBA Loans.