From Veteran to Entrepreneur: How to Empower Yourself to Open Your Own Business

Veterans who choose to become entrepreneurs by opening their own small businesses are rapidly becoming a substantial part of the United States economy. According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 8% of all businesses in the United States are owned by veterans. For those veterans who are looking into starting their own businesses, there are several resources worth looking into in order to ease the transition into business ownership.

In addition to veteran-specific grants for business ownership, the US government offers many types of financial loans to help veterans get their businesses off the ground. Here is a hand-picked list of some of the best business loans for veterans. For the best rates, contact a credit union that specifically caters to veterans – such as the Navy Federal Credit Union.

Another way to secure money is through investors. Since this allows someone else to have a say in the way your business operates, it should only be considered as an option after veterans have exhausted other methods of obtaining money – including grants, loans and savings. However, if funding is the only thing standing between you and your dream, it can definitely be considered as an option. To find an investor, veterans will need to craft a sales pitch and research angel investors, venture capitalists and other sources of startup funding in their local area.

The Veterans Business Outreach Center Program (known as VBOC for short) is a wonderful first step for any individuals who are looking to open a business and aren’t sure where to start. This is a great resource for veterans, because most veteran business owners will tell you that finding a mentor business owner who is also a veteran can be invaluable.

In addition to providing mental health services for veterans, the Veteran’s Health Administration (VA) has also created an entrepreneur program specifically aimed at helping veterans open their own business. Called the Veterans Entrepreneur Portal, the program partners with BusinessUSA to assist veterans in obtaining financial funding, mentoring and other helpful resources to guarantee success as a business owner.

In addition to veterans-specific programs like the VA and VBOC, veteran entrepreneurs also have access to free, government-funded programs that are readily available to non-veteran business owners. One great example of this is SCORE, which provides free mentoring and resources for entrepreneurs. For additional government-sponsored help, veterans are also encouraged to reach out to their local Small Business Administration (SBA).

Looking beyond government-funded resources, veterans can also seek support and mentorship from those who are already in the business community. Reaching out to friends, relatives and colleagues who are business owners can be a great way to get advice when you’re just starting a business. In addition, most cities have various different meetup groups, support groups, events and networking groups geared towards entrepreneurs.

It’s also highly encouraged for veterans to take the time to meet other small business owners face-to-face so they can all learn from one another. By becoming active in their local community, seeking financial aid and making use of government assistance programs for veterans, it is easier than ever for veterans to transition into the world of business ownership.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by skeeze