Resources for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Veterans not only do a remarkable job in serving their country, but also serving their nation’s economy, becoming successful business owners after their enlistment is through. Nearly 10% of all U.S. businesses are owned and operated by veterans, employing nearly six million workers and generating $1.22 trillion in receipts.

These links are provided for informational purposes only. Commerce does not endorse any of the organizations listed in these online resources. As always, do your own research before making a decision.

A Guide to Housing Benefits for Veterans

A Guide To Housing Benefits for Veterans – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of housing benefits to eligible veterans and service members, including mortgages that don’t require a down payment, housing grants for veterans with service-related disabilities and rental assistance for veterans in need. Whether you are a renter, plan to buy a home, or need housing assistance because of special circumstances such as disability, this site can help you identify what type of help you may be able to get from the VA.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

This veteran’s portal helps veterans find employment and begin their own business ventures. Some resources they offer include strategic outreach, starting and expanding a business, and small business administration.

Startup America Partnership

The Startup America Partnership is an SBA initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs. Startup America has an excellent reputation for helping establish startups all over the country. They also are invested in helping to make military veterans active business leaders in their own startups and work to education the public and vets on how to ease this transition.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program

Part of the GI Bill, Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) was put into place to make education more affordable to veterans. This benefit is only available to veterans that: Enrolled in service between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985,  opted into the benefit while in service and made contributions, completed their first period of service, weren’t dishonorably discharged.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged Veteran or were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, you may be eligible for this VA-administered program. Whether you want to apply your GI Bill benefits to college classes or an on-the-job training program, the GI Bill Comparison Tool will help you make the most of them.

Veteran’s Business Outreach Center

The Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOP) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has 15 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

Baseops: Military to Civilian Transition

Baseops: Military to Civilian Transition is a go-to source for quality information relating to jumping back into civilian life with excitement, confidence, and a secure job. The information on their site provides resume templates, samples, formatting tips, and more. Additionally, they have a wide selection of books that make great reference material for transitioning to civilian life and finding a good job.

Buy Veteran

Buy Veteran is a national campaign spearheaded by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) to bring the success and momentum of the National Veteran Business Movement to all of America’s 3 million veteran-owned businesses. In 1999, the federal government passed Public Law 106-50 that set a mandate to award 3 percent of all federal contract and subcontract dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Office of Veterans Business Development of the U.S. Small Business Administration

The Office of Veterans Business Development of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s  mission is to maximize the availability of all administration small business programs for Veterans. They have several resources on their site, including links to grants, entrepreneurship training programs, and more.

Feds Hire Vets

Feds Hire Vets is the premier resource for veterans looking to get a job in the federal government, but are unsure how to approach it. The site details the most important news veterans need to know, along with various success stories of veterans becoming employed, and even connects them with HR Managers to get them a job.

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan

An entrepreneur that gets called to active duty risks everything they’ve worked for in building their business. The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan is designed to alleviate that risk and ensure any business that depends on the services of a military reservist that gets called into duty will have an easier time getting by in their absence.  Applicants can borrow up to $2 million if they qualify, at an interest rate of no more than 4% per year.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program

For many types of businesses, government contracts are a lucrative and consistent source of revenue. Since 1999, the government has set a goal of ensuring that at least 3% of all government contracts go to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. The purpose of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program is to provide procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, as well as the authority to make sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns if certain conditions are met.

Veteran’s Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship

The Veteran’s Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship (VIBE) provides military veterans, and military spouses the education, resources, and supportive environment to use their natural inclinations and skills to innovate and create their own professional lanes through entrepreneurship. VIBE, taps into several Washington regional assets—motivated veterans, a supportive community, a university setting—with the goal of supporting students as they learn about entrepreneurship and turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Online Colleges for Veterans & Military Personnel

Online Colleges for Veterans and Military Personnel – The virtual classroom is a great option for active service members, veterans, and their dependents since online programs can typically accommodate their demanding lifestyles. This site outlines online colleges for military service members and the variety of benefits offered at these institutions, simplifying the school selection process for former members of the armed forces.

Higher Education Resources for Veterans & Their Families

Higher Education Resources for Veterans and their Families – Veterans going to college for the first time face a wide range of challenges. Before classes begin, there’s pressure to find the right school, navigating the new GI Bill, and making sure all necessary materials have been organized and submitted. To help current (and aspiring) student veterans and their families, this comprehensive guidebook addresses the many challenges that college-bound veterans face daily, including those of a financial, social, academic, medical and geographic nature.

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families is committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families. Supported by a world-class advisory board and public and private partners, our professional staff delivers unique and innovative programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras.

Shultz Family Foundation

The Shultz Family Foundation leverages unique partnerships that create new possibilities for Opportunity Youth. Through a partnership with the Starbucks Foundation and YouthBuild USA, the foundation has established a Retail Excellence Training Program that provides training for meaningful jobs, customized educational opportunities, life skills, and holistic support services.

Boots to Shoes

The Boots to Shoes mission is to augment veterans’ support services for 21st century Veterans’ successful transition into civilian jobs. Boots to Shoes (BTS) accomplishes its mission by engaging and training volunteers from the business community to be mentors for transitioning veterans. BTS mentors are trained to provide coaching for resumes, job search plans, interview skills and echo the bottom line

Bunker Labs

Bunker Labs was built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans as leaders in innovation. The organization provides educational programming, mentors, events and thriving local networks to help military veterans start and grow businesses.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) was named one of the top ten entrepreneurship programs in the country by Inc Magazine.  It’s specifically designed to equip wounded veterans with the skills and contacts that will help them successfully transition. The EBV program was developed by Syracuse University, is completely free to veterans, and most of it can be completed from your home from anywhere in the United States.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program

Part of the GI Bill, Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)  was put into place to make education more affordable to veterans. This benefit is only available to veterans that: Enrolled in service between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985,  opted into the benefit while in service and made contributions, completed their first period of service, weren’t dishonorably discharged.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged Veteran or were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, you may be eligible for this VA-administered program. Whether you want to apply your GI Bill benefits to college classes or an on-the-job training program, the GI Bill Comparison Tool will help you make the most of them.

Veteran’s Business Outreach Center

Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOP) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has 15 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

Helmets to Hardhats

Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry.

Warriors 4 Wireless

Warriors 4 Wireless helps meet the demand for trained wireless technicians by training former members of the military with the job skills needed to become a professional in the telecommunications industry. Through working with the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program, they’re able to place people into jobs that are in high demand.

Victory Sparks

Victory Sparks provides grants, customer development training and mentoring into innovative U.S. Military Veteran-led startups. Victory Spark is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and was originally funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

100 Entrepreneurs Foundation

The 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation was created to provide seriously wounded service members, veterans and their families with information and ideas for creating their own businesses or exploring civilian jobs after they leave the hospital. Classes include entrepreneur speakers addressing a range of business functions and presentations on aspects of starting and building a business.

Honor Courage Commitment

Honor Courage Commitment programs focus on entrepreneurship, education, social responsibility, community services, health and fitness, and job placement. HCC’s partnerships with various companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs allow it to provide its veterans with expert training and proper guidance as they work towards their goals.

Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities works with veterans with disabilities. By working with participating colleges, they provide mentors to participating veterans and assist in the development of their business plans.

The VETS Group

The Vets (Veterans Enterprise Training & Services) Group is a non-profit 501(c) 3, community-based organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C. It  provides a holistic program for Veterans and their families to achieve Economic Empowerment through Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment. Assistance with affordable housing, family strengthening, and health rehabilitation is also offered.

VetToCEO

VetToCEO offers free online programs exclusively for verified members of the active military and for veterans. These programs have been designed by veteran entrepreneurs, and are facilitated by veteran entrepreneurs, and they are offered online so that anyone can participate.

Veteranscorp

Veteranscorp acts as clearinghouse for ideas and information deemed useful to veteran and service disabled veteran owned small businesses. They work to connect veterans with mentors and business people in the nonprofit and corporate sectors to help create relationships that support economics and the possibility of veteran owned businesses.

 
Veterans Training Support Center

The Veterans Training Support Center provides continuing educational opportunities and professional development to those who provide direct service to veterans and their family members.

 

 

The following grants are open at various times throughout the year.  Please check their website for applications and deadlines.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Veterans

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Veterans – This site provides expert guidance to help veterans, service members, and their families pay for college. The guide clears the confusion, helping individuals find the right financial aid programs and avoid dangerous scams. It not only covers the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and other federal programs, but also scholarships and grants that can supplement GI Bill benefits. Each year, thousands of financial aid dollars go unawarded and are turned back to their sponsors due to a lack of applicants

Paying for Graduate School for Military Veterans

Paying for Graduate School for Military Veterans – On this site, you will find funding tips to use in addition to, or in place of, the GI Bill. Many of the sources listed below are tailored to veterans, their spouses or family members looking for alternative options to pay for school. This guide also provides a checklist for applying for scholarships and numerous resources for finding additional aid opportunities.

Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House Foundation, a private-public partnership that supports America’s military in times of need, is accepting proposals from nonprofit organizations for its Newman’s Own Awards for creative ideas to improve the quality of life of service members and their families. Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded to the most innovative plans aimed at improving the quality of life of active duty, Reserve, and National Guard service members (as well as veterans) and their families dealing with the stress of long deployments and separation and/or the long-term effects associated with service.

Insitute for Veterans and Military Families

Bridging the Gap: Motivations Challenges and Successes for Veteran Entrepreneurs – Institute for Veterans and Military Families

Boeing Workforce Development Grants

Boeing has announced commitments totaling $300 million in support of education, veterans and military personnel, and workforce development. The commitments include $100 million for employee gift-match programs and investments in Boeing’s philanthropic focus areas of education and veterans and military personnel; $100 million for workforce development in the form of training, education, and other approaches designed to meet the rapidly growing demand for skilled workers; and $100 million for “workplace of the future” facilities and infrastructure enhancements designed to benefit Boeing employees. Press release.

Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets)

The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans is a new grant program offered for the first time this year that provides grants to non-profit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans.  Letter of intent due January 11. Closing date is February 18, 2018.

Bob Woodward Foundation

Bob Woodruff Foundation leverages partnerships with leading nonprofits, corporations, the military and the government to find, fund and shape programs that meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans and their families. Grants awarded in the foundation’s focus areas of Education and Employment and Quality of Life will support programs aimed at helping veterans pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations and career opportunities through postgraduate scholarships and professional licensing and certifications.

StreetShares Foundation

The StreetShares Foundation gives away $10,000 in veteran business grants to veteran or military spouse entrepreneurs each month. The Foundation is a non-profit associated with the military social lending platform.

Victory Sparks

Victory Sparks provides grants, customer development training and mentoring into innovative U.S. Military Veteran-led startups. Victory Spark is member of the Global Accelerator Network and was originally funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

Community Capital Development Veterans Business Outreach Center

The Community Capital Development Veterans Business Outreach Center’s mission is to increase the number of businesses owned by veterans and other members of the U.S. military community and increase the number of jobs created by those businesses. They work with these businesses create business plans, prepare loan requests, and learn to function profitably.

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan

An entrepreneur that gets called to active duty risks everything they’ve worked for in building their business. The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan is designed to alleviate that risk and ensure any business that depends on the services of a military reservist that gets called into duty will have an easier time getting by in their absence. Applicants can borrow up to $2 million if they qualify, at an interest rate of no more than 4% per year.

Grant Watch

Grant Watch is devoted to making the up-to-date listing of government, nonprofit, and corporate grants searchable. You can find some information with the free version of the website, but to get the full information on each grant listed you have to become a subscriber for $15 a week. In total, the website has a searchable list of 14,000 grants. You can hone in on grants specific to veterans, residents of your area, or any other category that applies to you.

Fiscal Tiger

Fiscal Tiger provides an ever-growing collection of articles and resources all created specifically for veterans and their families. Whether you are newly enlisted, planning your transition into civilian life, or simply trying to get your life and finances in order, you’ll find support from the information and organizations listed here.

Veteran’s Guide to Getting Hired

Veterans Guide to Getting Hired – This site provides extensive links to resources, tips, and advice for veterans returning to the workforce.  The guide helps existing and future veterans find jobs and start new careers. They can read about finding a job, opportunities and challenges within the workplace, how businesses benefit from hiring veterans, and how vocational rehabilitation prepares veterans to find work.

The Veterans Choice Program (VCP): Program Implementation

The Veterans Choice Program (VCP): Program Implementation presents a report on the implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Choice Program (VCP) as a way to increase access to care for veterans. Discusses veteran eligibility and care options within the program, provider participation, and the processing of payments.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides support to modify or rehabilitate veterans’ primary residences or to provide organizations with technical, administrative, and training support in connection with those services. HUD will award up to $13,700,000 to nonprofit organizations that provide nationwide or statewide programs that primarily serve veterans or low-income individuals. Grants will be competitively awarded up to $1 million each to selected applicant.

Home Depot Foundation: Veteran Housing Grants

The Home Depot Foundation: Veteran Housing Grants Program awards funding to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States for the new construction or rehabilitation of multifamily, permanent supportive housing and transitional facilities for veterans. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 are available. 

 Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront – Founded in 2002, Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families. Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and rent-free transitional housing for wounded veterans and their families.

Operation Vetrepreneurship

Operation Vetrepreneurship: Bridging the Gap: Motivations, Challenges, and Successes of Veteran Entrepreneurs This publication begins to renew a dialogue on the veteran entrepreneurship focused on challenges, motivations, and resources and informs multiple audiences and stakeholders who support veteran entrepreneurs—including educators, trainers, veteran service organizations, entrepreneurship service organizations, and financial supporters.

Onward Veterans

Onward Veterans, a national initiative that empowers post-9/11 veterans and their families in their transition to civilian life. Onward Veterans is focused on investing in research and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury; enhancing employment opportunities through innovative training and career placement; and facilitating access to services for veterans and their families.

Corporate America Supports You

Corporate America Supports You (CASY) brings military and veteran job seekers together with employers who are looking to hire. Their team has provided free job placement assistance to more than 100,000 military service members and veterans.

Travis Manion Foundation

The Travis Manion Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) that empowers Veterans and Families of Fallen Heroes to develop character in future generations. Their goal is to create a nation of purpose-driven individuals and thriving communities that are built on character. Their programs enable veterans and survivors to thrive in their post-military lives: by providing a renewed sense of purpose, connecting them with their communities, and leveraging their strengths and passions to make an impact.

AmericaServes

AmericaServes provides veterans, transitioning service members, and their families access to a simple and effective way to access and navigate a range of supportive services in their communities. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated network of organizations dedicated to serving the military community by connecting them to the resources specific to their unique needs.

WaServes

WaServes, a unique network of veteran service organizations that makes it easier for active duty service members, veterans and their family members to find services they need. At the heart of the WAServes network is a coordination center accessed via the web or by calling a toll-free phone number. The program launches with over 50 service providers and will initially serve King, Snohomish, Island, Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties.

Work Vessels for Veterans

Work Vessels for Veterans gives veterans the information and resources they need to start a business or career after their service is completed. They also help put veterans and non-veterans in touch with resources to give back and help make life after active duty better.

Buy Veteran 

Buy Veteran is a national campaign spearheaded by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) to bring the success and momentum of the National Veteran Business Movement to all of America’s 3 million veteran-owned businesses. In 1999, the federal government passed Public Law 106-50 that set a mandate to award 3 percent of all federal contract and subcontract dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Office of Veterans Business Development of the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The Office of Veterans Business Development of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s mission is to maximize the availability of all administration small business programs for Veterans. They have several resources on their site, including links to grants, entrepreneurship training programs, and more.

Entrepreneur.com 

Entrepreneur.com is a popular and successful resource for any business owner. They also have special resources for veterans, including articles about past veterans who have had successful ventures, franchise opportunities, and other education for veterans in business.

100 Entrepreneurs Foundation 

The 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation was created to provide seriously wounded service members, veterans and their families with information and ideas for creating their own businesses or exploring civilian jobs after they leave the hospital. Classes include entrepreneur speakers addressing a range of business functions and presentations on aspects of starting and building a business.

Feds Hire Vets 

Feds Hire Vets is a resource for veterans looking to get a job in the federal government, but are unsure how to approach it. The site details the most important news veterans need to know, along with various success stories of veterans becoming employed, and even connects them with HR Managers to get them a job.

VeteranOwnedBusiness.com 

VeteranOwnedBusinesses.com is an online directory you can list your business on to make it easier to find for any company or consumer that prefers working with veteran-owned businesses. It’s just one more way to get your name out there and find new customers.

 

We Work Veterans In Residence Program

The WeWork Veterans in Residence Program, is an initiative in partnership with Bunker Labs aimed at helping US military veterans pursue their life’s work. Whether a veteran is starting a new business, looking to build their network, or trying to find their next career – the WeWork Veterans in Residence program provides veterans the space, services, and community they need to find their tribe and create their life’s work.

Thurston County Veterans Resource Guide

The Thurston County Veterans Resource Guide provides information and resources that veterans can access in Thurston County, Washington.

Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Founded as part of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes events are open to all U.S. service members, veterans, and/or military spouses of either of those groups.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Operation PAVE)

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Operation PAVE) serves veterans nationwide using a hybrid, integrated approach to assist veterans and transitioning service members who face significant barriers to employment, as well as their spouses and caregivers. Paralyzed Veterans of America, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization founded in 1946, has developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of our members – veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or disease.

American Corporate Partners

American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce. With the help of business professionals nationwide, ACP offers veterans tools for long-term career development through mentoring, career counseling and networking opportunities.

National Veteran Owned Business Association

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 (VBEs/SDVBEs) through certification, advocacy, outreach, recognition and education.

Veteran’s Guide to Starting and Financing Small Business

A Veterans Guide to Starting and Financing Small Business is a web page that lists the best resources available for starting, running, and financing a veteran-owned business.

National Veteran Small Business Coalition

The National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) advocates for veteran-owned businesses to be given first consideration for contract procurement opportunities from the federal government and provide educational materials that make it easier for veterans to start their own businesses. They have annual veteran entrepreneur training conferences, so it’s easy to get in touch with the best resources for starting a business.

The VETS Group

The Vets (Veterans Enterprise Training & Services ) Group is a non-profit 501(c) 3, community-based organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C. They  provide a holistic program for Veterans and their families to achieve Economic Empowerment through Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment. Assistance with affordable housing, family strengthening, and health rehabilitation is also offered.

Task Force for Veterans’ Entrepreneurship

The Task Force for Veterans’ Entrepreneurship (formerly Task Force, now known as VET-Force) advocates for the support of America’s service disabled and other Veteran owned entrepreneurial enterprises. They monitor and fight for legislation that protects veterans, puts them back to wok sooner, and gives them the tools to transition once they are home from service.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA ) assists veterans in promoting themselves and advertising their business. They give veteran businesses listings in their directory, advertising discounts, and discounts on services like staffing, business coaching, shipping, and travel.

VetToCEO

VetToCEO offers free online programs exclusively for verified members of the active military and for veterans. These programs have been designed by veteran entrepreneurs, and are facilitated by veteran entrepreneurs, and they are offered online so that anyone can participate.

 

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