Women veterans serve nation finding success in service and out

Redacción Agencias | 10/31/2017, 8:36 a.m.
Women veterans serve nation finding success in service and out

As we close out October’s National Women’s Small Business Month and enter National Veterans Small Business Week 2017 (Oct 30 through Nov 3), Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper stated, “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.” Women veterans are changing the small business community to help our economy grow. I’d like to point out how SBA serves women veterans in the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Many service men and women serve our country in uniform and continue to do so as small business owners at home, contributing trillions of dollars to the American economy. Our own Deputy Administrator Althea (“Allie”) Coetzee Leslie graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985, transitioned into the Navy Reserve in 1993, and in her civilian capacity, has worked in both the public and private sectors in municipal and state government, retail distribution, medical device manufacturing, and the Department of Defense. She has also worked as a small business owner. Across the United States, nearly one in ten businesses is veteran-owned. Of those, there are 383,302 veteran women-owned businesses (as of 2016 numbers) reflecting substantial growth (286,188 businesses) since 2007 which included an economic recession during this time period.

Here, in SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, we have some of the largest concentrations of veteran-owned and woman-owned enterprises. We and our partners support women’s veteran entrepreneurship with a broad network of resources:

Women’s Business Centers (WBC) – provide comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses.

Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) – provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

Boots to Business (B2B) – SBA’s entrepreneurial training program for recently transitioning service members, has reached over 30,000 participants since the program began in 2013.

Boots to Business – Reboot –reaches a broader population of veterans from all eras.

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise) – funded by a Cooperative Agreement with SBA, plus corporate, and foundation partners nationwide; this program helps women veterans and military spouses already in business as well as new entrepreneurs.

Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP) – is designed for veteran-owned businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts by establishing best practices, and includes training by service experts, government officials, and agency representatives.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories through a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance.

Programs like these help local businesses break through. SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania District Office celebrates, connects, and empowers service member (including National Guard and Reserve), veteran, and military spouse entrepreneurs and business owners – past, present, and future – with veteran entrepreneur events during the month of November:

Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.: Veterans' Expo and Job Fair at Spooky Nook Sports, 2913 Spooky Nook Drive, Manheim, PA

Nov. 8, Noon-1 p.m.: Capital Access & Vets at Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, 15155 Kutztown Road, Kutztown, PA

Nov. 9, 9 a.m.-Noon: Veterans Contracting Program at Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, 252 W. Swamp Rd, Ste. 23, Doylestown, PA

For more information about NVSBW events, visit www.sba.gov/NVSBW. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.