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SBA, Arizona Launch Entrepreneurship Programs for Veterans

July 11, 2012

With veteran unemployment rates exceeding the already-high national unemployment rate, organizations and agencies around the country are seeking ways to plug veterans into the innovation economy. These efforts capitalize on the leadership skills and technical knowledge of military veterans by helping them become entrepreneurs. Operation Boots to Business is a new nationwide initiative, backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), that will provide entrepreneurship training courses at military bases to help veterans transition into business ownership. Arizona State University's Venture Catalyst will offer a version of its Rapid Startup School program for veterans as part of a more extensive effort to help veterans become a part of the innovation community.

U.S. Small Business Administration
The SBA, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, will launch a pilot program to provide veterans with basic entrepreneurial skills and business counseling. Operation Boots to Business will offer entrepreneurship courses at U.S. Marine Corps bases in Quantico, VA, Cherry Point, NC, Camp Pendleton, CA, and Twenty-Night Palms, CA, later this year. SBA plans to take the initiative nationwide in 2013.

While veteran unemployment remains higher than the national average, veterans are more likely than non-veterans to become small business owners. Operation Boots to Business will help veterans prepare to launch their own businesses by offering face-to-face introductory entrepreneurship courses on military based. For those who are interested, an intensive, eight-week online business planning training course also will be available, provided by Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The coursework will be tailored to the needs of transitioning service members. Participants then will be referred to SBA's other support networks, including Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, SCORE and Veterans Business Opportunity Centers, for additional support.

Read more about Operations Boots to Business at: http://boots2business.org/index.asp

Starting in September, ASU Venture Catalyst will launch a special version of its Rapid Startup School program targeted at military and defense industry professionals, as well as U.S. military veterans. The free program will specifically target veterans with leadership, engineering and technology backgrounds. Participants will receive training to help them launch technology startups related to military technology, homeland security, border protection and consumer protection processes. The Rapid Startup School Military/Defense/Veterans (MDV) program will run for two months, after which the participants may attend monthly networking and educational events.

ASU Venture Catalyst and Skysong plan to mount a concerted effort to target veterans and military/defense professionals over the winter months. That outreach includes the MDV program, as well as opportunities through ASU's new AZ Furnace accelerator.

Read more about the Rapid Startup School MDV at: http://asuventurecatalyst.org/p/content/rapid-startup-school.

Arizonasba, entrepreneurship