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Boots to Business

from service to startup

Why Start a Veteran-Owned Small Business?

Veterans are natural entrepreneurs. They are disciplined, goal-oriented self-starters. Accustomed to accountability, they know the value of being decisive and flexible. Over the next few years more than 250,000 service members will transition into civilian life annually. With the jobless rate persistently high, and unemployment among veterans outpacing the national average, training in entrepreneurship makes sense. Leveraging the talents of transitioning service members will promote self-employment and will help stimulate the economy.

  • Veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.
  • According to the U.S. Census, about 2.4 million or nine percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned.
  • Veteran-owned small businesses generate over $1 trillion in sales.

About Boots to Business

Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as an elective track within the Department of Defense’s revised Transition Assistance Program called Transition Goals, Plans, Success (Transition GPS). The curriculum provides valuable assistance to transitioning service members exploring self-employment opportunities by leading them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and the foundational knowledge required for developing a business plan. Participants are also introduced to SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance.

Boots to Business is delivered in partnership with SBA Resource Partners and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. It is available free of charge at participating installations to service members and their dependents transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military. The program consists of three parts:

  1. The Entrepreneurship Track Overview:
    A video for all transitioning service members during the core five-day Transition GPS course that introduces entrepreneurship as a post-service career option.

  2. Introduction to Entrepreneurship two-day course:
    This course is taken during Transition GPS if the service member elects to participate. It is taught at participating military installations by subject matter experts from SBA or a SBA Resource Partner. Participants learn business fundamentals and work through an initial feasibility analysis of their business concepts.

  3. Foundations of Entrepreneurship course:
    Upon completion of Introductionto Entrepreneurship class, transitioning service members, as well as military spouses and dependents, can elect to further their study through an instructor guided eight week online course led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Completion of this course requires approximately 10 hours of study each week to guide participants through the fundamentals of developing a business plan.

After completing Boots to Business, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, and launch their enterprise.

Innovative Delivery & Partnership

SBA delivers Boots to Business with the support of its field offices and Resource Partners, such as the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). Additionally, SBA partners with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University on curriculum development, course materials and instruction. Beyond the B2B course, SBA’s network of Resource Partners offers continued training and mentoring programs to assist veteran entrepreneurs - reaching more than 100,000 veterans every year.

Success in the Making

Boots to Business is a nationwide program and will be made available at select overseas locations. The standardized curriculum enhanced by the tailored approach and expertise of the SBA Resource Partner Network ensures that every transitioning service member has access to training and the resources they need in their local communities to start and operate small businesses, achieve post-service career success, and strengthen the Nation's economy.

Check our calendar for program dates.
For more information, please visit http://www.sba.gov/bootstobusiness.