The Brownsville Herald, Texas
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The SBA offers support for veterans as they enter the world of business ownership. From funding programs to training to federal contracting opportunities, the Small Business Administration can help veterans on their entrepreneurial journey.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Veterans Small Business week continues through Nov. 5 with a number of free online training sessions for Rio Grande Valley service members, veterans or military spouses entrepreneurs and businesses owners.
On Tuesday, guest speaker Elyzabeth Perkins, marketing specialist with the Texas Facilities Commission for Surplus Property, led a Zoom presentation on how eligible veteran-owned small businesses can work with the SBA to access federally owned surplus property through the government’s donation program.
To qualify, businesses must be located within Texas, be unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more eligible veterans, service-disabled veterans or surviving spouses, and be registered with “verified” status in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vets First Verification Program database.
Government Contracting for Veterans is the subject of a Zoom training session on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Robert Marraro, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center specialist with Del Mar College’s PTAC and Cecilia Orozco will lead the presentation.
The U.S. government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of all federal contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOSB) each year. The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the SBA’s SDVOSB program. Veterans who join the program are eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside contracts while also competing for contract awards through other programs they may qualify for.
The VA also awards set-aside contracts to veterans through the Vets First Contracting Program, which is different than the SDVOSB program. The Nov. 3 webinar will cover no-cost resources for government contracting, how to become SDVOSB-certified, and how to become verified through the Vets First Verification Program.
A webinar titled “Access to Capital for Veterans” begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4 and will be led by the SBA’s Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office and community resource partners, who will offer guidance in how to gauge a business’ financial health and accessing capital such as loans, micro-loans or grants to support it. Workshop topics will include the 7(a) Loan Program and the 504 Certified Development Company Loan Program, matching businesses with lenders, including micro-lenders, the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Finally, Boots to Business (B2B) Reboot course will be taught online on Friday, Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. B2B is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by SBA as part of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. Active-duty service members including National Guard and Reserve and veterans of all eras and spouses are eligible to take the course, which provides of overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals.
All sessions require registration. To register, visit sba.gov/offices/district/tx/harlingen.
Nation Veterans Small Business Week is in its eighth year and was created to raise awareness of veteran small business ownership and encourage communities to support veteran- and military-owned businesses, according to SBA.
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said the week-long event “is a time to honor the service and celebrate the impact of our nearly 1.8 million veteran entrepreneurs who are a driving force in our economy, generating approximately $1 trillion annually and employing nearly 4 million people.”
“The SBA team is committed to providing the capital, marketplace opportunities and supportive network of Veterans Business Outreach Centers so that our veterans and military spouses can continue to do what they do best — face hardships head-on to build, innovate and adapt their businesses to survive and thrive,” she said.
Angela Burton, director of the SBA Lower RGV District Office, said that as a veteran herself “the celebration of National Veterans Small Business Week is very dear to me.”
“It showcases the resilience, determination and grit veterans acquire from military service, making them outstanding business owners, community leaders and job creators,” she said, describing the several virtual events planned for the week as “mission-essential resources for small businesses.”
“Entrepreneurship is not a solo mission,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of an agency and network that serves the needs of our veteran and military business owners.”
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