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Operation Boots to Business to train transitioning vets

By JONATHAN D. EPSTEIN | The Buffalo (N.Y.) News | Published: July 14, 2012

The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a new program in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department to train transitioning servicemembers and veterans to help them become entrepreneurs and create jobs.

The national initiative, called Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, will be piloted first with the U.S. Marine Corps in four locations, at Quantico, Va.; Cherry Point, N.C.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. It will later be expanded nationwide during fiscal 2013 to service members from all military branches.

"Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a news release.

Each year, more than 250,000 servicemembers shift from the military to civilian life, and veterans often possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses, SBA noted in a news release.

In fact, 9 percent of small businesses are already owned by veterans, with the 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employing more than 5 million individuals. And veterans are more likely to be self-employed than those without military experience, SBA said.

Under the program, SBA will coordinate training and services at military bases nationwide through a face-to-face introductory entrepreneurship course. It will also provide comprehensive training materials geared to transitioning service members through a partnership with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Distributed by MCT Information Services