Military veterans have the drive to be successful as entrepreneurs and business owners.

According to a May 2011 study from the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience. More than 2.4 million U.S. businesses are owned by veterans, about nine percent of all American firms. They employ 5.8 million employees and provide $210 billion in annual payroll. About 78 percent of veteran-owned businesses register sales of $100,000 or more, while more than 38 percent have sales of half a million or more. The average age of veterans who run businesses. California, Texas and Florida lead the pack in numbers of veteran-owned businesses. The resources below can assist veterans in achieving the dream of starting, growing, and running their own business.

Regional Veteran Entrepreneurship Resources
Statewide Resources
Additional Resources
Veteran Entrepreneurship Links

 

Regional Veterans Entrepreneur Resources

Advantage Business Magazine is a magazine is focused on the Jacksonville area and provides articles on all areas of small business.

Bunker Labs Jacksonville is a national not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans as leaders in innovation. Through local chapters across the U.S., Bunker Labs provides educational programming, access to resources, and a thriving local network to help military veterans and their spouses start and grow businesses. We work to Inspire, Educate, and Connect veterans with the right resources and people locally to be successful, while also providing national tools and resources like: Bunker in a Box or our Community Mobile App to support aspiring entrepreneurs where ever they may currently live or be stationed.

City of Jacksonville Small Business Help If you are looking to start a business in Jacksonville, there are a lot of things to consider. Have you selected a location? Is the building or space suitable for your type of business? Do you know what inspections or permits you need? Understanding the many ordinances and requirements for building use and occupancy can be overwhelming, but the City of Jacksonville is here to help! In our Small Business Help Sessions hosted bi-monthly, business owners meet one-on-one with experts from the City's Building Inspection, Community Planning and Fire Prevention divisions to receive guidance and information to help them operate their businesses safely and efficiently.

The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at the University of North Florida provides no-cost consulting, low-cost training and information to entrepreneurs at every stage – from pre-venture, to startup, to micro, to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). By delivering management assistance programs and services in 18 counties, we provide the greatest access to business solutions. Our startup training and professionally certified consultants have generated hundreds of success stories. Plus, as the only regional resource with a university affiliation, we provide our clients with the latest academic thinking along with access to the Small Business Resource Network. As a part of the statewide FSBDC Network started in 1976 with only two service centers, the FSBDC at UNF is one of approximately 40 centers involving universities, colleges and other economic development partner organizations. State designated as Florida's Principal Provider of Business Assistance [§ 288.001, Fla. Stat.], the FSBDCN is the only statewide provider of entrepreneurial services and plays a vital role in Florida's economic development initiatives. At the FSBDC at UNF, we are driven by a common belief: By helping businesses grow, we create a better community for all. 

The Jacksonville Chapter of SCORE has about 50 men and women dedicated to helping small businesses in Northeast Florida. SCORE is a national service organization that supports small businesses nationwide. SCORE has a network of over 11,000 volunteers operating in 340+ local chapters around the country. The organization is supported by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). In Jacksonville, our counselors' skills include: accounting, consulting, distribution, financial planning, franchising, human resources, marketing, operations, publishing, retail sales, strategic planning, sales, consumer products, Internet, technology and nonprofit management, and doing business with the government. SCORE Jacksonville offers the following services to veterans: Free Business Mentoring; Workshops and Events; Free Resources. 

Jacksonville Community of Entrepreneurs stimulates economic development in Northeast Florida by fostering high-growth potential startups through the shaping of the innovation ecosystem. We are a growing community of creators and builders on Florida's First Coast. We are founders of innovative startups. We are investors with a vision of our city as a hub of innovation. We are members of educational, economic, governmental, and charitable organizations and institutions dedicated to Jacksonville and its people. We are service providers with the expertise to help our clients excel. We are an inclusive community that understands that great ideas do not rely on our gender, race, age, or status. We believe that our community is enriched every time someone new chooses to join us. We are not a formal organization requiring membership. Instead, we are a large but closely-knit group of people who have come together organically to pursue our individual dreams as a group and our group goals through individual contributions. We believe in the future of Jacksonville as an Innovation Center of Excellence. We know that it begins with us.

Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) The JWBC, funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the JAX Chamber Foundation, advances the success of women entrepreneurs at every stage of business development. Our programs are designed for you, the woman entrepreneur who is operating an established business or wants to open a business located in one of the seven counties in Northeast Florida: Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, St. Johns or Putnam. Women business owners and entrepreneurs seek out the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center to explore the possibilities of starting a business, find answers to operational and management issues and to connect with a knowledge bank of business experts. The services and programs presented by the JWBC are offered at no cost or low-cost (with a few limited partial scholarships) to clients.

JAX Bridges is a program of the JAX Chamber Entrepreneurial Growth Division. JAX Chamber's Bridge to Business Connection, a program of JAX Bridges, offered business owners and entrepreneurs the chance to hear authentic entrepreneurial experiences, learn about new tools available for use, and implement how-to’s for charting a new path for business.

JaxSmallBizHelp.org represents government and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses with the resources they need to succeed. The mission is to bring partners together to share information, to exchange ideas regarding small business issues and needs, to coordinate assistance activities, and to advocate on behalf of their small business members/clients. JaxSmallBizHelp.org won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2013 Regional Small Business Advocate of the Year Award for their outstanding advocacy on behalf of small businesses.

The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship The staff of the Jim Moran Institute’s North Florida Operations serves established entrepreneurs and business owners in the North Florida community through executive education programs designed to take advantage of local resources. Providing executive education and leveraging the resources of the Jim Moran Institute, the North Florida Operations helps its clients’ businesses – and the region’s economy – grow and prosper. Based in Tallahassee, the North Florida Operations' services are for nonprofit and for-profit businesses and are geared toward CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners and presidents of small businesses whose companies have been established for at least three years with three or more employees. Services are provided for little to no cost.

The Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) at the University of North Florida provides support for Military Veteran entrepreneurs. 

Small Business Resource Network Many owners of small businesses have specific legal, financial and insurance questions that go unanswered, and not just at start-up or time of expansion. Day-to-day operations of a small to medium-sized business encounter many challenges. This is why the Small Business Development Centers at universities around the state have joined together to sponsor the Small Business Resource Network (SBRN). Designed especially for the small business person, the SBRN answers basic questions and is easy to use. This website is your guide to frequently accessed regulatory agencies and relevant not-for-profit organizations as well as professionals who have expertise with small businesses. These groups have been brought together to streamline the process of finding and utilizing professional resources. These participating, qualified professionals are experts in banking, law, accounting, insurance, commercial real estate, human resources, marketing, buying and selling a business, computers/technology, and a wide variety of other management issues relevant to small businesses.


Statewide Resources

Commonwealth Institute The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) is a non-profit organization devoted to advancing businesswomen in leadership positions — in short we help women in business achieve greater success. Our membership includes CEOs, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, directors of nonprofits, independent professionals, and the rising generation of leaders who are committed to building successful businesses, organizations, and careers. We provide a variety of opportunities to help women succeed on a personal and professional level while propelling their organizations forward.

Florida 8(a) Alliance is open to all businesses 8(a), small businesses, HUBZone, Veteran-owned, SDVOSB, 8(M), WOSB, large businesses and other members of the general public. http://florida8a.org This organization has a state grant for the Florida Small Business Defense & Veteran Initiative focused on entrepreneurship. Our program provides small, veteran and defense-oriented businesses with opportunities for New revenue stream opportunities, Research & Development, Hands-On Practices, Mentoring and Training through workshops throughout the state of Florida, Educational webinars.

Florida Small Business Development Center Network The Florida SBDC Network, the state's principal provider of business assistance, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016. Since its inception, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. In 2014, the initiatives of the Florida SBDC Network resulted in 42,664 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $140.2 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 952 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network's designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.

Florida Women’s Business Center The Florida Women's Business Center (FLWBC) was established in October 2004 and is the result of a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership. The FLWBC is a small business resource center in South Florida dedicated to the individual professional development of women. We provide management and technical assistance, help with efficiently organizing and completing business plans, business counseling, and special workshops, which include everything from starting a business to financial literacy and social media. Although our services are available to all persons, we are committed to attracting and serving women with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Prospera (formerly The Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida) Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business. Prospera empowers Hispanic entrepreneurs through training, support and resources so their businesses can grow and prosper. Prospera is able to serve entrepreneurs and the community, and without charging for its services, thanks to investments in its mission by generous corporations, individuals and government agencies. Non-profit, with a Miami office, provides free bilingual seminars, workshops and technical assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs launching or expanding businesses in Florida.

Veterans Business Outreach Center of Florida provides entrepreneurial training through workshops and the internet, counseling, technical assistance and resource utilization services to Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reservists, National Guard Members and Active Duty business owners and start-up entrepreneurs.

Veterans Florida was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014 as part of the Florida GI Bill to serve as an innovative corporation to encourage recently retired or separated military personnel to make Florida their permanent residence. Veterans Florida has established a program to assist veterans in starting their own business. Nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans want to open and operate their own business. Opportunity, freedom and challenge attract them to business ownership. Are you one of them?

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers you tuition-free, online and on-campus instruction designed to match up with your level of knowledge and your busy schedule. The program provides three pathways of instruction. The first pathway comprises online lessons that will familiarize you with basic terminology and concepts. The second pathway offers specialized workshops held on the campuses of our six academic partners. The third pathway is an advanced on-campus program that delves more deeply into all aspects of entrepreneurship.

Women Executive Leadership Women Executive Leadership, Inc. (WEL) advocates, educates and connects accomplished women. WEL’s membership is reflective of executive women across diverse businesses in Florida and its reach is nationwide through its alignment with the 20/20 Women on Boards campaign.


Additional Resources

Boots to Business is the two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship The Center of Excellence (CoE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship is designed to be, and function as, the hub of veteran business ownership. The CoE unites veteran-owned businesses (VOBs), researchers, small business program managers, policymakers, resources, and private and public companies in an organized effort to make transitioning service members, veterans, and their families successful business owners.

Department of Labor Veteran’s Employment and Training Service (VETS) VETS serve America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.

Department of Veterans Affairs provides veterans with information and resources on starting and expanding a business and on contracting opportunities for Veteran-Owned (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOSB) small businesses.

Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Entrepreneur Portal The Veterans Affairs Department provides a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal that provides information on Starting and Expanding a Business; Vets First Contracting Program; Acquisition Support; Strategic Outreach; Small and Veteran Business Programs; and Small Business Administration resources.

Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) This site provides information about the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) efforts to verify Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDBOSBs) and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs). SDVOSBs and VOSBs who want to participate in the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program must be verified by CVE in order to be eligible for VA contract set-asides.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities The EBV National Program is a novel, one-of-a-kind initiative designed to leverage the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities and a passion for entrepreneurship as well as military family members who serve in a caregiver role to a veteran with a service-connected disability. The aim of the program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

Inc.com This web site is a resource for veterans, service members, and military spouses to start, run, and grow their own businesses. In 2011, Inc. Magazine launched the Military Entrepreneurs Program to educate and mentor service members and their families about entrepreneurship. The program helps veterans, service members and their families start, grow and run their own businesses through mentoring, education, networking, resources and information provided through Inc.’s special events and business conferences. 

International Business Innovation Association InBIA is a global non-profit organization that has welcomed and supported entrepreneurial organizations for over 30 years. Serving a diverse group of entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors and policymakers, we help guide, mentor and develop sustainable entrepreneur support programs in every industry and demographic around the globe. Our goal is to enrich the entire ecosystem by providing industry resources, education, events and global programming to help our members better serve the needs of their unique communities and regions.

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan The purpose of the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (MREIDL) is to provide funds to eligible small businesses to meet its ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to meet, because an essential employee was "called-up" to active duty in their role as a military reservist. These loans are intended only to provide the amount of working capital needed by a small business to pay its necessary obligations as they mature until operations return to normal after the essential employee is released from active military duty. The purpose of these loans is not to cover lost income or lost profits. MREIDL funds cannot be used to take the place of regular commercial debt, to refinance long-term debt or to expand the business.

National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) With over 400 member companies, NVSBC is a powerful ally of veteran entrepreneurs coast to coast. For this, we are grateful to be members of NVSBC and the voice they provide for countless veterans trying to make a difference.

Nerdwallet Small-Business Grants and Resources for Veterans 2017 provides an overview of grants and resources for vetrepreneurs.

SCORE is a nonprofit that provide resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs.

Small Business Administration Loan Information for Veterans The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) has implemented a new measure to help get small business loans into the hands of veterans. This new measure sets the borrower upfront fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express program up to $350,000. This initiative started on January 1st, and will continue through the end of the fiscal year. Of all SBA loans that go to veterans, 73 percent are $350,000 and below. The SBA Express Loan Program, which supports loans under $350,000, is SBA’s most popular loan delivery method, with nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans over the past decade being authorized through the program. Since the program’s inception, it has also been one of the most popular delivery methods for getting capital into the hands of veteran borrowers. This policy announcement means that veteran borrowers will no longer have to pay an upfront fee for any loan up to $350,000 under the SBA Express program. This will make the loans cheaper for the borrower, another way SBA is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

Small Business Administration Online Learning Center offers modules on counseling, mentoring, business development, training, and other pertinent subjects.

Small Business Administration Veterans Business Development SBA has an array of free services for vets looking to start their own businesses with Centers located throughout the country. The SBA has recently announced the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative, a commitment by its top national, regional and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by 5 percent per year for the next five years. With the support of SBA’s top 20 national lending partners, and about 100 additional regional and community lending partners across the United States, SBA expects to help an additional 2,000 veterans obtain loans to start or expand small businesses by increasing lending by $475 million over the next five years.The SBA also has teamed up with the nation’s 250 Certified Development Companies to launch an initiative that provides financing discounts and training to veterans who own businesses or are interested in small-business ownership.

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) The IVMF 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. The IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation; and works with communities and non-profits across the nation to enhance service delivery for the 22.5 million veterans throughout the United States and their families.

Veteran Business Ideas from Commercial Capital Training Group This web site provides information on Business Services for Veterans; Business Ideas; Franchises for Veterans; Niche Services; Building a Strong Network of Veteran Entrepreneurs; Women Veterans and Business Ownership; Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses; Organizing at Home.

Veteranscorp helps facilitate collaborations between veteran-owned small businesses and provides a gateway for entrepreneurs to access resources, programs, funding and more.

VetFran is a program offered by the International Franchise Association which provides financial assistance to veterans who become franchisees of participating IFA members. Typically the franchisor waives or deeply discounts the franchise fee.

Veteran Franchise Centers Veteran Franchise Centers' sole mission is to provide free guidance to veterans, spouses and their direct family members who are seeking franchise ownership. Through our nationwide network of offices and our deep relationship with the franchise community, we can help find out which franchise opportunity is best suited for your goals and lifestyle! . Learn how over 4,500 veterans control their destiny by owning their own franchise business. Your service to your country has earned you benefits that can be applied to starting your own local franchise business. Hundreds of companies have franchises available with discounts on initial fees and/or other special financing options available to armed forces veterans. As part of our consulting process, we will provide you with franchise education, veteran financing resources, and on-going assistance.

The Veteran Owned Business Project is a comprehensive, user friendly member network directory of small, medium and large businesses owned by veterans, service disabled veterans (SDVOSBs / DVBEs) active duty military, reservists and military spouses released on Veteran's Day 2008. Now Americans in the United States and abroad have an easy way to proudly search for products and services that are unique in the fact that they are all made by, sold by or serviced by United States military veteran business owners, service disabled veteran business owners, active duty military business owners, military reservists and military/veteran spouse business owners!

Veterans’ Pathway to Business Success Veteran Pathways provides personalized transition assistance, enabling veterans to have thriving healthy and productive lives. We provide a glide path through our alliances with other partnerships, opportunities and programs. With the assistance of our coaches, we guide veterans through FIVE PATHWAYS: Career, Financial, Social, Domestic, and Well Being. There are thousands of fine programs available to veterans. Our intent is not to duplicate services provided by private or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) programs.


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