Let’s Talk Business for November 3, 2023

Creating and developing a veteran-owned small business is a unique process. As the founding city of Veterans Day, all of us here at the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce are committed to helping our local veterans succeed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, military veterans own almost two million businesses and employ over five million Americans. The transferable skills and experience veterans have through military service, including leadership and team building, are attributes of a successful business owner. Veterans are capable of working under intense pressure and maintaining the discipline and responsibility needed to make their business idea a reality.

However, creating and developing a veteran-owned small business is a unique process. In order to grow and develop, veterans need resources to help get them started. One main concern is hiring. It can be challenging to find the right balance between hiring transitioning service members and veterans (something many veteran-owned businesses emphasize) and hiring those with the right skill sets. Challenges like this make it difficult for veteran business owners to reach their goals without support. Fortunately, there are resources to help veterans manage every aspect of their business.

Boots to Business (B2B) offers an introductory overview of business ownership and baseline entrepreneurial skills. At this in-person, two-day seminar, veteran business owners learn to create a business plan and are introduced to basic business concepts by Small Business Administration (SBA) experts.

With a mission to assist veterans in their small businesses, veteran-owned and -operated Bunker Labs helps veteran entrepreneurs via resources like online courses and local meetups with like-minded new business owners, plus resources for established veteran-owned companies looking to take their business to the next level.

DAV Patriot Boot Camp provides current military service members and veterans with mentors, educational programs, and top experts to assist them in creating successful businesses. The three-day Boot Camp program runs twice a year and provides mentoring and one-to-one support for new business owners.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program is a helpful tool when hiring and recruiting. Hiring Our Heroes assists transitioning service members, veterans, and their families find meaningful employment opportunities.

Created for active duty and female veterans, Veteran Women Inspiring the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) holds a three-phase program in entrepreneurship and business management, including a 15-day online course followed by mandatory in-person entrepreneurship training and continued support, mentorship, and training for alumni launching or growing their businesses.

Warrior Rising offers education, business coaching, and professional development to veterans, focusing on helping service members transition to becoming private citizens. All services are provided at no cost to the participant and aim to help veterans become business owners and leaders.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

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“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.