Veterans, Your Dreams of Entrepreneurship Can Become Your Reality

At some point, you may entertain the idea of being your own boss. Maybe you already have? Imagine doing work you like to do when, how, and where you want to do it. These are the obvious pros of having your own business.

There is so much more to consider when it comes to entrepreneurship, and it starts with the preparatory work. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), preparatory work includes conducting market research, writing a business plan, deciding on a business name and location, getting federal and state tax identification, applying for licenses and permits, and more. The SBA Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) offers education and training on the entrepreneurial process through several paths, two of which are (B2B) and Boots to Business: Reboot.Boots to Business began as a pilot initiative in July of 2012, and over 82,000 service members, Veterans, and military spouses have graduated the program since. Boots to Business is the entrepreneurship track to business ownership within the U.S. Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program offered to transitioning service members, to include members of the National Guard and Reserve, and their spouses on military installations worldwide. B2B: Reboot brings Boots to Business off installations and into communities, extending access to Veterans of all eras and their spouses.The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is also working with SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development to support Veterans with service-connected disabilities interested in self-employment. VA and SBA entered into an agreement in December 2017 to provide these Veterans with guidance and assistance to help them become entrepreneurs.VR&E's self-employment track offers services to Veterans who may have the necessary skills to start their own business like those offered in B2B and B2B: Reboot, with additional opportunities for VA to potentially assist with some business start-up costs, and tuition for training and licensing fees.A Veteran with a VA service-connected disability rating can login to eBenefits and apply for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. If a Veteran expresses interest in owning their own business during the initial evaluation, he or she can work with a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor to determine if the self-employment track is the best option.The most recent U.S. Census recorded 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employing more than 5.7 million individuals and representing 9 percent of all U.S. firms. In fact, this equates to nearly one in 10 U.S. small businesses being veteran-owned. Veteran-owned small businesses contribute approximately 1.4 trillion dollars to the nation's total sales and receipts per year, making them a critical pillar of the American economy.Being your own boss doesn't have to be a pipe dream. You can make it a reality.