Thursday, August 1, 2019

Proposed Legislation to Encourage Veteran Entrepreneurship

Two Senators have introduced legislation to make it easier for veterans to start businesses. Entitled the 'Veterans Small Business Ownership Improvement Act', the legislation, if passed, is designed to protect and enhance entrepreneurship training and programs for service members and veterans.

Veteran entrepreneurs employ more than 5.7 million workers across America. Well, maybe a little less than that if you back out the companies posing as veteran-owned. Nevertheless, its a significant number. The problem, as the senators see it is that as members of the armed forces transition from the military, they find it difficult to navigate civilian career options and resources available to sustain a business. Probably everyone experiences such difficulty, veteran or not. 

According to the Senators, more than 200 thousand veterans transition to civilian life every year and they're much more likely to be self-employed than those who have never served. Really? Never heard this statistic before. The legislation is designed to make sure veterans who wish to start a business are introduced to the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to live their dream and establish a successful business.

Roughly a third of new businesses exit within their first two years and half exit within their first five years. The survival rate of new businesses has been remarkably consistent over time. The Senators want to improve that survival rate for veterans who desire to be entrepreneurs.

The Veteran Small Business Ownership Improvement Act is designed to:

  • Protect, improve, and strengthen SBA's (Small Business Administration) efforts to support transitioning service members, veteran entrepreneurs, and families.
  • Empower the next generation of veteran entrepreneurs with training and instruction through the Boots to Business and Veterans' Business Outreach Center programs.
  • Ensure veterans have a one-stop online resource for all the information on SBA entrepreneurship programs which support veterans
  • Direct the SBA to foster veteran entrepreneur peer-to-peer mentorships.

Like most legislation, the details on how the SBA is to accomplish these objectives are somewhat vague and it will be up to the SBA to implement them through the regulatory processes. This idea of peer-to-peer mentorship seems like an oxymoron. If two entrepreneurs are peers, how can one of them be a mentor?

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