National Veterans Small Business Week


President Obama declared November 3rd-7th the first ever National Veterans Small Business Week. These veterans continue to serve our country by contributing to the local economy as business owners. Many veterans use the skills learned in the military to become successful business owners.  As more than a million service men and women end their military careers over the next five years and transition back to civilian life, veteran business owners will play a critical role in creating economic opportunities for the entire nation.   Veteran owned businesses range from traditional government contract and supply to broad traditional main street businesses such as construction companies, attorneys, barbers, waste management, restaurants, sporting goods and other retail.  

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and senior SBA leaders will host veteran small business events across the country.  ABC television’s Emmy Award winning business-themed show, ‘Shark Tank,’ will be hosting a veteran-themed episode during National Veterans Small Business Week.  Veteran entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to the Sharks, tough, self-made, multimillionaire and billionaire tycoons in hopes of securing a business deal and investment.

Veterans make up nearly 1 in 10 small business owners in the US and the state of Florida boasts over 262 thousand Veteran Owned Businesses as per data from the SBA office of Advocacy 2010 report.  

The Veterans Business Outreach Center Region IV (VBOC) at Gulf Coast State College, assists veterans in business or veterans who are pre venture in the states of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky.  

The mission of the VBOC is to be the ‘Boots on the Ground’ counseling agency of the Small Business Administration in business consulting to military veterans, active duty military, National Guard and Reservists, Service Connected Disabled Veterans’ spouses and widows of the aforementioned group.

Veterans assisted by the VBOC have been successful in creating Veteran owned businesses;   winning over $350 Million in government contracts, $10 Million in capital formation, starting businesses and hiring other veterans.  

With the 2013 roll-out of the new Boots to Business Program, a two day introduction to business ownership offered on base to separating military members and their spouses, the VBOC has direct access to separating and retiring military members who want to pursue entrepreneurship.  VBOC has delivered 18 Boots to Business workshops to 471 military members in the last 18 months.

As the goal of self- employment is an enduring ambition, the trend towards veteran owned businesses is increasing.

Veteran Business Owners nationwide will be featured and celebrated for their accomplishments during this week of events.