NEWARK – This year, as more than 250,000 military service members prepare to transition into civilian life, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching Boots to Business, a new initiative offered in cooperation with Syracuse University and the Department of Defense’s redesigned Transition Assistance Program. The program is geared towards helping transitioning members of the military become entrepreneurs.
In New Jersey, Boots to Business is set to begin on Monday, April 22nd with two full days of classes at the Joint Base McGuire, Family Support Center. A new curriculum known as Transition Goals, Plans, Success (GPS) gives service members separating from the military the option to select entrepreneurship as a training track.
According to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, materials for the 16 hour course have been developed by Syracuse University and that classes will be taught by SBA’s Veteran Affairs Officer Edward Haddock and Eric Wiksten, the new director of the New Jersey Veteran Business Outreach Center. “The idea behind Boots to Business is to provide business fundamentals to service members ready to transition back to civilian life,” said Titone. “In addition to the training, the program will provide each participant with access to an analysis tool that will help them determine the feasibility of their business idea.’
Upon completion of the 16 hours of training, transitioning veterans will then have the option of completing an eight week online course that will cover the principles of accounting, finance, market analysis, planning, business operations, and sales.
“We already know that veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed and that the 2.4 million veteran-owned businesses in this country generate over $1 trillion in sales,” said Titone. “The fact is that transitioning service members are natural entrepreneurs possessing the training, experience and leadership skills to start businesses and create jobs. We believe that the DoD Transition Assistance Program gives us a captive audience and provides participating service members with a choice of entrepreneurship as an alternative to the traditional job market. Boots to Business also gives them the necessary tools and comprehensive training to start their business.”
The April Boots to Business program is at full capacity; however the SBA and the Joint Base McGuire Family Support Center will be holding an additional class on Aug. 1-2, for service members beginning their transition from the military or those who have been separated from the military for 90 days or less. For additional information regarding Boots to Business registration, contact Carol Spencer of the Joint Base McGuire Military and Family Support Center at 1-609-754-3154. Additional information is also available at www.sba.gov/bootstobusiness.
Those who are veterans and have been separated from the military more than 90 days can call Eric Wiksten, director of the New Jersey Veteran Business Outreach Center at 1-973-353-3429. Through the center, veterans have access to individual business counseling and other training programs. For additional information visit the following websites: http://www.njvetbiz.com/ or www.sba.gov/vets.
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