There are lots of great resources out there that you can us to being your business planning, and most of them are FREE or very low cost. Below are resources we use often and have found to be helpful. In particular you should look at the business planning and education resources. Check them out and see what works for you.
SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. Their services are free or very low cost. They are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA. The SBDCs also have access to the SBDCnet information clearing house where you can get excellent market research information to help you assess your business idea and decide if it has potential to make a profit.
SCORE is a good source for small business plans. They will guide you through the entire process from “what is a business plan” through “creating a business plan”. Here you will find free business plan templates, business plan samples and examples, and links to business plan software.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. The SBA has several small business loan programs designed specifically for entrepreneurs. The SBA does not lend money directly but works with banks and other lenders to increase access to capital.
The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program 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). Think of a VBOC as an SBDC for veterans only.
If you are considering going back to school, this resource will help you understand your benefits and take the correct steps to find and choose a school and obtain financing. Understand how the GI Bill works (both Montgomery and Post-9/11). Look into the Yellow Ribbon Program and find grants and scholarships specifically for veterans. Learn about student groups and extra support for families, female, veterans, and disabled vets. Once you know your options, check out the Best Schools Honor Roll list to find the best schools for vets across the nation.
For this ranking, the team carried out a detailed assessment of the academic and support services offered to veterans at every major U.S. college. They identified five veteran-focused core metrics to score each school on: Military and Veteran Population, Out of Pocket Costs for Veterans, Reputation, Student to Faculty Ratio and Yellow Ribbon Awards. Equal weight was placed on all five core metrics to determine the overall scores.
Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The curriculum continuum includes steps for evaluating business concepts, the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan and information on SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance.
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.
A premier educational training program taught by accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the United States. V-WISE enables women Veterans to find their passion and to learn the business-savvy skills to turn their ideas or businesses into a growth ventures. V-WISE recognizes entrepreneurship is an important part of economic growth across the country and this program is the key for women Veterans to pursue their dreams and make them a reality.
In June 2011, Syracuse University made an institutional commitment to launch the nationally focused Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), a historical first in the context of higher education. The mission of the IVMF is to fully leverage the intellectual, human and social capital of higher education, in service to America’s veterans and their families. The institute develops education and employment-focused programs in collaboration with industry, government, NGOs and the veteran community, to address the primary economic and public policy concerns of our nation’s servicemen and women, and their families.
Stanford Ignite now has an offering for recent U.S. veterans to bolster their know-how about innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as support their transition to civilian life. This full-time program is exclusively for Post-9/11 veterans and uses the same curriculum as our global Stanford Ignite offerings. It also features components such as career advising, visits to local Bay Area companies, and sessions with hiring managers. Stanford GSB alumni veterans will be actively engaged as mentors, guest speakers, and panelists evaluating student presentations.
Bunker Labs’ goal is to launch and accelerate veteran-owned businesses, channel the energy among veterans to become entrepreneurs and business owners, and create a new forum for high-performing veterans to meet and collaborate. The Bunker targets existing veteran-owned tech startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to come, create, and conquer the business world through their ideas, hard work, and strategy.
Code Platoon is a 501(c)3 non-profit that helps veterans transition into the civilian workforce by providing technical training and career placement. For 16 weeks the students are immersed in learning the full Ruby on Rails stack. After completing the program veterans will be eligible for an internship.
State of California established the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program in 1989 to primarily help DVBEs compete more effectively for a portion of contracting dollars, and to promote self-reliance for California’s disabled veterans by offering veterans the opportunity to gain experience in business, while sharing their expertise with the citizens of California and provide a goal of awarding 3% of all state contracts to certified DVBEs. Entrepreneurs: While the DVBE program does NOT provide direct assistance for starting your own business, there are many resources dedicated to helping veteran owned businesses. Every state has a department of veterans affairs.
We believe in the power of business innovation to help veterans achieve their full potential in life. We recognize that veterans’ experience in the military prepares them to be smart, capable entrepreneurs. We help disabled veterans achieve the satisfaction, pride and independence that comes from running their own business. Veterans come home with a strong sense of the value of discipline, hard work and leadership. They’ve worked in the most challenging circumstances imaginable and know they can accomplish anything with the right team. We are here to be part of a veteran’s team as they build a new life through building a business.