In his Proclamation naming this Small Business Week, the President explains that “small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of America's promise.” Veterans increasingly make up part of that backbone as entrepreneurs translating their service-related skills into job-creating companies.
The number of Veterans early in their careers is on the rise: 74 percent of service-disabled Veterans over the last 10 years are under 30 years old. They are equipped with unique skills as a result of their service, and their Veteran status offers distinct business advantages.
A wide array of services and benefits are available to Veterans in launching a new business. In addition to VA programs like VetSuccess, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the new Veteran Fast Launch Initiative, and numerous local programs provide varying degrees of support. The challenge is in knitting it all together and making it work for each Veteran’s individual needs.
As part of the White House-led Startup America initiative, this month the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), in partnership with the SBA and the Department of Labor, announced two new business incubators with the sole mission of helping Veteran entrepreneurs get their start by integrating existing services and offering new forms of business support.