From Enlisted to Entrepreneur: Resources for Veteran Small Business Owners

You’ve served your country with pride, come back to a hero’s welcome (or hopefully at least a backyard BBQ) and now you’re basking in the glow of civilian life and the lack of someone barking orders in your face 24/7.

What’s next? For many American veterans — 2.5 million as of 2017 — the answer is to start a small business. But how do you go from “enlisted” to “entrepreneur”? Mischa Communications has the gameplan.

Getting Started

For American veterans, the journey toward business ownership generally starts with a visit to the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Veterans Business Outreach Center. The VBOC is a one-stop shop that can help veterans start a business and access financing, offer tips on expanding your business and more.

Anyone who meets the criteria can get a loan from the SBA; however, loans for veterans often come with reduced fees, and sometimes even reduced interest.

To qualify for a veteran-only loan, you must be at least one of the following:

  • A veteran or service-disabled veteran (dishonorable discharges need not apply)
  • A reservist or National Guard member
  • Participating in the Transition Assistance Program
  • A spouse of any of the wonderful people above.

Resources Beyond Financing

As a veteran who wants to be an entrepreneur, you don’t have to look far for help. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal that lists all manner of resources to guide you along the way.

Besides the basic stuff such as how to get started, where to get financing and growing your business, you’ll also get advice on how to do business with federal agencies and create corporate partnerships.

Perhaps you’d like to share the struggle with other veterans who are also building their own businesses (after all, entrepreneurship is just another trench). Or maybe you just want to keep in touch with other ex-soldiers and swap war reminiscences. The Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship is for you.

The “One-Stop Shop for Veteran Entrepreneurship” connects veteran-owned businesses across the United States. Their website lists organizations like the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Student Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

There’s also a ton of links to resources like the Small Business Administration, the Veteran Business Outreach Center and Women’s Business Center.

Setting up your own business is, in a lot of ways, similar to going to war (although with much fewer chances of risking life and limb). We’re here to help. Get in touch with us today.