Resources for veteran entrepreneurs

September 07, 2023 | 3 minute read

Steve Strauss

Written by
Steve Strauss

The senior small business columnist for USA Today, Steve is also a brand ambassador with 20 years of experience and the author of 18 books, including his latest, Your Small Business Boom.

After leaving the armed forces, veterans are faced with transitioning to civilian life, which can include finding a job or starting a career. A growing number opt into going into business for themselves. The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that over 2.5 million businesses in the United States are majority owned by veterans.


For many veterans, starting a business is a clear choice. The skills acquired and honed during their time of service carry over well into the business world. For example; leadership, teamwork, perseverance and resilience are only some of the characteristics that comprise a great service member. These same attributes are also commonly associated with being a successful entrepreneur or small business owner.


However, despite the many transferable skills acquired during service, it doesn’t mean that service members are immediate business experts and ready to tackle the inevitable obstacles that come with starting and growing a business. Veterans face the same challenges that commonly face new and existing small business owners such as access to capital and acquiring business knowledge. That being said, there are a number of dedicated resources to help veterans along the way as they embark on the entrepreneurship journey.


Resources for veteran entrepreneurs

SBA veteran programs

A best friend to small business, the SBA’s Office of Business Veterans Development provides many resources for veteran entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business. Some of these resources include access to capital and preparation for small business opportunities.


For example, Operation Boots to Business is a business course for veterans. It guides veterans through the transition from serving to becoming a business owner, covering topics like business plans and launching a product, and provides follow up support for those looking to continue building their business knowledge.


Another great SBA resource is IGNITE, a one-day entrepreneurship training event offered in cities across the country. The curriculum is intended to help veterans, active duty, and military spouses/life-partners who are exploring small business ownership as a post-service career path.


The Veterans Administration (VA)

Similarly, the VA has a great small business resource center, the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. Offering help for everything from starting to financing to growing a business, this is a great place for the beginner or seasoned veteran entrepreneur alike.


Veteran entrepreneurship courses

Bunker Labs teaches entrepreneurship to military veterans and spouses through a series of programs, courses and an online community.


Along the same lines, Patriot Boot Camp offers entrepreneurship training programs in various cities nationwide.


The leader for in-person, live entrepreneurship training is the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University (in conjunction with a host of other major universities). Here you will find an online 30-day curriculum, followed by a 9-day in-person session at the university. Participants also receive follow-up support and mentoring.


Warrior Rising is a program exclusively for verified members of the military and veterans. Designed and facilitated by veteran entrepreneurs, the course is offered online “so that anyone, anywhere can participate in a well-designed, collaborative online environment.”


Other resources

  • The National Veteran Owned Business Association: NaVOBA’s mission is to create corporate contracting opportunities for America’s Veteran’s and Service-Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprises through certification, advocacy, outreach, recognition and education.
  • Hivers and Strivers: An alternative to common financing options, Hivers and Strivers is a veteran-focused angel investment group.
  • Second Service Foundation: This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides access to capital opportunities, education and other support to military entrepreneurs nationwide.


Veteran entrepreneurs come equipped with a wealth of valuable skills. That doesn’t mean they don’t require some help along the way from mentors, networking opportunities and business strategies.


If you are, or know, a veteran seeking a career as an entrepreneur, take advantage of some of the great resources available.

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