Boots to Business: Veterans Succeed as Small Business Owners

As our country celebrates Veterans Day in recognition for those who have served in the military, there is good news about their unemployment rate. It has been going down in 2013 and in October was at 6.8%, compared to 7.4% in October 2012.

In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to highlight a government program that is helping put more veterans to work and can actually benefit business by teaching veterans to use the skills they learned while serving in the military to start their own business. Operation Boots to Business is a U.S. Small Business Administration-sponsored training program to help transition service members to business ownership.

Studies conducted by the SBA concluded that veterans are more than twice as likely as the general population to start their own businesses and have those businesses succeed.

Operation-Boots-to-Business-Logo“Being in the military and being an army vet or a veteran, I have been built and trained to run my own business I think it’s a perfect fit and a perfect fit for veterans,” said Jenna Bazaric, Owner & Operator of a Tropical Smoothie Café in a video about the program. “We have the ability to react to change and to talk to and interact with all different types of people.”

Brian Iglesias served 13 years in the Marine Corps and is now President & CEO of Veterans Expeditionary Media. He credits his success to the training and education he got through the program and agrees that veterans have the skills to become successful.

“There are a lot of transferable skills that you can take from the Marine Corps and apply to your own business,” he said. “We have this take-the-hill mentality where we’re goal oriented. We don’t make comfort-based decisions. I have a dream and a vision to own my own business and my comfort comes second. And I’ll push myself and drive myself. That will to win, that will to succeed and to not surrender, to not give up has really helped me. Because it’s tough. Things go wrong. The best part about being a marine and having the military service is that we have the ability to thrive in chaos. Small business ownership is chaos. Things happen all the time and you have to be fast, smart and flexible to overcome those and continue to drive forward and succeed.”

Active duty military members and their partners or spouses are eligible for the program, which includes an intensive two-day intro at a local military installation, followed by an eight-week online course offered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University.

I’m in favor of any program that successfully helps those who served our country acquire the skills they need to succeed on their own in the world of business. I wish all the participants in this program the best of luck in their new endeavors.

Happy Veterans Day weekend to all of you and to all the veterans, thank you for your service.


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