The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy recently released a report indicating that today's veteran entrepreneurs tend to:
Be older than 55
Work more than 40 hours per week
Work in home-based businesses
The report, found online at www.sba.gov/advo, also stated that about 22 percent of U.S. veterans were either purchasing or starting a new business - or considering doing so - and almost 72 percent plan to hire at least one other employee.
Veterans represent roughly 5.5 million businesses across the United States. And judging from the responses The American Legion Magazine received after the initial "On Point" column in December, many of them have questions. In the coming months, I will attempt to answer them.
Michael P. from Rockville, Mich.: "How can I obtain assistance under the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999?"
First of all, Public Law 106-50 created a company called the National Veterans Business Development Corp. - www.veteranscorp.org - a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington that has received more than $16 million in federal funding since 2000. One of its missions was to create community-based organizations. Three are now funded in Boston, St. Louis and Flint, Mich. The centers offer services ranging from business start-up assistance to help with federal contract procurement.
The 1999 law also established the Office of Veterans Business Development at the SBA www.sba.gov/vets, which offers assistance in federal procurement and small-business advocacy, and a variety of small-business assistance services.
Because of Public Law 106-50, VA established the Center for Veterans Enterprise, www.vetbiz.gov, which offers assistance in a variety of areas, including federal procurement, networking, business development and assistance navigating the federal marketplace.
Readers are welcome to send their questions for "On Point" directly to the author at mailto:www.vetbiz.gov. Louis J. Celli Jr. is a retired Army master sergeant who has started, built and grown businesses and has counseled hundreds of veteran entrepreneurs. He is CEO of the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center.