By JASON SIMMONS
Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Field Operations
Nov. 5-9, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is focusing attention and resources on a community that deserves it – our military veterans.
During National Veterans Small Business Week, the SBA is hosting and participating in free events around the country to provide opportunities for veterans and their spouses to connect with local small business-building resources.
When their military service ends, SBA services to these heroes begin. We know that many have just what it takes to be their own boss and live the American dream, a dream they courageously fought for.
A veteran Army military intelligence officer turned entrepreneur, Shandra Vestal is a great example of what can happen when a veteran and the SBA connect. In the SBA’s South Central Region, she certified her business as 8(a), woman-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned and HUBZone small business. These certifications helped open doors for her company to successfully compete in the federal marketplace. With this support and her expertise, in just three years, Vestal grew her start-up to bring in revenues of $10.4 million with 10 full-time employees.
In the New Mexico District, which covers 33 counties, Veterans have been approved for more than $8.7 million in small business loans in FY 2018, and were awarded over $343 million in federal contracts.
President Trump is joining SBA’s efforts by dedicating his second-quarter salary to SBA to help fund a seven-month intensive veteran entrepreneur training program. Nov. 1, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and VA Secretary will sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize the working relationship between the two agencies to develop the training program.
We know government efforts are critical to the successful transition process for service members considering entrepreneurship as their next move.
In the South Central Region, we have three specialized Veterans Business Outreach Centers to equip transitioning service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses with small business counseling, training and education, access to capital, and contracting opportunities:
5201 Eagle Rock Ave, NE Suite 2A
701 S West Street
1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Dr.
Join SBA in celebrating Veteran entrepreneurs by following us on Twitter at @SBAgov and sharing your stories with the #VetBiz and #MyVetBiz hashtags.
Visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz or contact your local SBA district office to find out about various events in your neighborhood.