Guidance for Veterans: Starting a Business with Expert Support


Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be both exciting and challenging. If you’re a veteran looking to start a business, you’re embarking on a new journey that can lead to personal and financial fulfillment. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and organizations specifically designed to assist veterans in their entrepreneurial endeavors. In this guide, we’ll explore who you should talk to for help as a veteran looking to start a business.


1. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that offers a range of resources and programs for veterans who want to start and grow their own businesses. The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) provides assistance tailored to veterans, including business training, access to capital, and counseling services. The agency’s Boots to Business program offers entrepreneurship training on military bases around the world, helping veterans develop the skills they need to become successful business owners.


2. Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)

The SBA also supports Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) located across the United States. These centers offer one-on-one counseling, training workshops, and mentoring to veterans who are interested in entrepreneurship. VBOCs can provide guidance on business planning, financing, marketing, and more. Connecting with a local VBOC can be a valuable step in your journey to start a business.



SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free mentoring and education to entrepreneurs. It is supported by the SBA and staffed by experienced volunteers, many of whom are successful business owners themselves. Veterans can benefit from SCORE’s mentorship program, workshops, and online resources, all of which can help refine business ideas and develop actionable plans for success.


4. Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP)

Several universities offer Veterans Entrepreneurship Programs (VEPs) aimed at helping veterans launch and grow businesses. These programs provide training, mentorship, and networking opportunities that can be instrumental in building a strong foundation for your business. VEPs often cover topics such as business planning, marketing, finance, and legal considerations.


5. National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)

NaVOBA is an organization dedicated to promoting veteran-owned businesses and connecting them with opportunities. They offer various resources, including certification for veteran-owned businesses, which can be valuable when seeking contracts with government agencies and corporations that prioritize working with veteran entrepreneurs.


6. Military Transition Programs

Many military branches offer transition programs to assist service members as they transition to civilian life. These programs often include workshops, seminars, and resources related to entrepreneurship. Connecting with your local transition assistance program can provide you with valuable insights and connections to resources tailored to veterans who want to start businesses.


7. State and Local Resources

State and local governments often have resources and programs to support veteran entrepreneurs. These can include grants, low-interest loans, and business development services specific to your region. Research the economic development agencies and business support organizations in your state or city to uncover opportunities available to veteran business owners.


8. Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce

Industry-specific associations and chambers of commerce can provide valuable networking opportunities and industry insights. Many of these organizations have programs and events focused on supporting veteran-owned businesses. Joining these groups can help you connect with fellow entrepreneurs, potential customers, and mentors.


9. Financial Institutions

Banks and credit unions often have specialized programs or financing options for veteran-owned businesses. Some financial institutions offer reduced fees, lower interest rates, or flexible loan terms to veterans looking to start or expand a business.


10. Entrepreneurial Networking Groups

Participating in entrepreneurial networking groups can provide you with a supportive community of like-minded individuals. These groups offer opportunities to share experiences, learn from others, and receive valuable feedback on your business ideas.


As a veteran looking to start a business, you’re not alone in your journey. There is a wide array of organizations, programs, and resources specifically designed to support and guide you through the process. From federal agencies like the SBA to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and industry associations, the support network available to veterans is robust and eager to help you succeed. By tapping into these resources, you can gain valuable insights, access to capital, mentorship, and the skills needed to launch a successful business that aligns with your goals and aspirations.


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