November 9, 2019
Today we recognize Veterans who are vital to ensuring the United States remains safe and free and for their role in strengthening the nations robust economy as entrepreneurs. On Veterans Day and throughout the year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says “Thank you for your service” by connecting our veterans with critical business-building resources to start, grow, and create jobs.
Military veterans own nearly 2.5 million small businesses in the country, employing five million workers and generating over $1 trillion in sales. The latest census data shows about 215,000 veteran’s own businesses across Texas. The SBA is ready to help even more live the American dream that they so fearlessly fought for.
Recently, Chris Pilkerton, head of the SBA and advocate for the nation’s 30 million small businesses as a member of President Trump’s Cabinet, travelled to Texas to meet with U.S. Army veterans John Hoenshelt and Wayne Ostrander and tour their company, Taiga Coolers, LLC, in Mesquite. The owners manufacture customizable, heavy-duty coolers made in Texas, and were able to grow and expand with an SBA backed loan. They have created 12 jobs and are now increasing their market footprint by selling internationally. The hardworking, savvy owners have also developed an on-demand kiosk system for store placement.
Chris said, “What impressed me most about this was that the Taiga team not only built the kiosks but taught themselves how to code to program its operations. A true demonstration of the resourcefulness of our veteran business community!”
I know teamwork is a strong component of any military member’s experience. As a marine veteran, I know how important it is to rely on others in your group for success. Now as a part of the SBA Team, I want our veterans and spouses to know if you decide to take the leap into small business ownership, the SBA is a committed part of your team. We want you to know that running a business is not a solo mission.
Most missions need funding to be successful—and this is especially true when it comes to starting a small business. But did you know that veterans looking to start, grow, expand, or recover a business typically need less than $50,000 in capital? In fact, 51% report using $25,000 or less for startup or acquisition.
There are a variety of existing resources that can help you no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. Whether you’re looking to start, grow, or expand your business—the SBA has a training program to fit your needs:
Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP): SDVETP is the perfect program for service-disabled veterans who are interested in starting their own business. This program allows you to translate your service-connected disability into the skills you need to become a successful business owner. Join SDVETP to kickstart your entrepreneurship journey and experience immersive, personalized, and hands-on training in all things business.
Veteran Entrepreneurial Training and Resource Network (VETRN): VETRN is a training program for existing veteran small business owners who are eager to build connections in the business world. This peer-to-peer program is designed for veterans and their family members—and it provides skills, resources, mentors, and networking to help you grow your small business.
Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP): Do you have a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business? If you’re interested in pursuing or already engaged in federal procurement, then VFPETP is the program for you. VFPETP’s entrepreneurship training tips and resources can help you take your business to new heights. Plus, the international program provides training for VOSBs and SDVOSBs looking to enter the export arena.
Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVETP): WVETP is a specialized program that provides entrepreneurial training to support women veterans, women service members, and military spouses as they navigate through their business adventure.
The tradition of honoring our veterans began more than 100 years ago to commemorate the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when an armistice was signed to end World War One. More than winning the war, we believed it is important to celebrate the heroes who sacrifice their lives to uphold our American liberties. Today, our commitment is that when their military service ends, SBA’s services to these heroes begin. To learn more about the SBA’s Veteran education and training programs, check out www.sba.gov/vetbiz today.
(Justin Crossie is the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Central Region, serving, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.)