Region VIII Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is fully-funded under a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
VBOC staff provide training, counseling and consulting for transitioning Service members, active duty, veterans, Reservists, Guardsmen and their spouses who are interested in pursuing small business ownership.
VBOC staff teach “Boots to Business” (B2B) curricula on the 11 military installations located within its six-state jurisdiction. Boots to Business (B2B) is a standardized 8-module entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The curriculum provides valuable assistance to transitioning Service members exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities by leading them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and providing the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan. In addition, participants are introduced to SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance.
For those Service members who have already transitioned back to civilian life, VBOC staff offer “Boots to Business Reboot” –a standardized two-step entrepreneurial training program that provides participants an overview of business ownership, components of a business plan and opportunity recognition, and an introduction to available public and private resources.
- Step one is the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course eligible to Veterans of all eras, Service members (including National Guard and Reserves) and their spouses.
- Step two is an eight-week online Foundations of Entrepreneurship course instructed by a consortium of professors and practitioners led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
Other entrepreneurial development training includes workshops on writing business plans, accessing capital, and contracting with the government, among many other specialized topics.
VBOC’s counseling services include concept assessments, business plan preparation assistance, comprehensive feasibility analysis and other individualized sessions tailored to the veteran entrepreneur. Mentorship includes on-site visits with clients to ensure adherence to their business plans.
VBOC staff build, promote and maintain effective public-private partnerships that support vetrepreneurship in its aim to: increase the number of veteran-owned businesses in the region; increase the number of jobs created and retained by those businesses; and to increase the value, growth rate and profitability of all veteran-owned businesses.
- Veterans make up about 6% of the U.S. population but 13.5% of small business owners—more than twice as much—meaning they over index in entrepreneurship.
- Montana ranks 2nd highest in the nation for number of veterans per capita and that we consistently rank as the best or one of the best states to start a small business.
- Veterans are 45% more likely than those without prior military service to be self-employed.
- 1 in every 10 businesses is owned by a veteran—nationally, that’s about 3.7 million; in Montana, that’s about 12,000.
- The best place to locate a VBOC is in a forward-thinking, cutting edge economic development organization like Big Sky Economic Development in Billings.
- Veterans employ about 6 million Americans.
- They pay wages in excess of $210 billion a year—think of the multiplier effect of those dollars on local economies.
- They generate about $1.1 trillion in receipts annually.
- And they produce about $1.7 trillion in GDP.
Veteran owned businesses are significant drivers for economic growth. And cultivating veteran entrepreneurship is a compelling, cutting edge economic growth strategy that aligns perfectly with our mission. The VBOC at BSED is where veteran entrepreneurship and economic development converge.