If you're both a US veteran and a business owner, you have a lot of entrepreneurial services at your disposal.
(article continues below)
Unfortunately, many veteran entrepreneurs don't know about the federal resources that are available to them. If anything, hearsay has led vet entrepreneurs to pursue non-existent benefits (e.g. veteran business grants) while other valuable resources go untapped.
Some programs for veteran entrepreneurs are offered directly through the Veterans Affairs Bureau. Others are offered in partnership with other government agencies. Either way, they accomplish the same thing – giving vets a leg up in the small business sector.
Here's a sampling of some of the resources for veteran entrepreneurs that are available to you as a result of the excellent work by the Veterans Affairs Bureau:
- VetBiz.gov. VetBiz.gov is an online portal for VA business resources. It provides links to a variety of vet-related business programs and answers to common questions.
- Vendor info pages. The purpose of the government's vendor info pages is to connect veteran business owners with federal agencies and private companies that are either required or interested in hiring veteran owned companies to meet their hiring goals and contract objectives. In recent years, vendor info pages have become even more important because of mandates like Executive Order 13360, a presidential directive that increases federal contracting opportunities for service-disabled veteran businesses.
- SBA partnerships. Many of the VA's veteran business owner programs fall under collaborative partnerships with the small business administration (SBA). These partnerships provide veteran-focused benefits for business startups and financing. Although the VA doesn't finance vet-owned businesses directly, you can find other vet funding programs through the SBA.
- Mentoring. The VA also offers a Mentor-Protégé program for veteran business owners. This program guides new entrepreneurs in the formation and start up of a new business. But more importantly, new veteran entrepreneurs learn how to leverage their vet status to compete for highly sought after federal contracts.
- Registrations. The VA gives veteran entrepreneurs easy access to federal registrations that are required to bid on government contracts. Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and Online Representation & Certifications Application (ORCA) are government requirements, while vendor info registration remains an optional – but vital veteran resource.