Veteran Entrepreneurs

Veteran Entrepreneurs have many resources available to them to begin businesses. National Veteran's Business Week, sponsored by the SBA in November, is dedicated to bringing awareness to veteran entrepreneurship. See below for more information on opportunities available to veterans.

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Veterans Services
Provides veterans and transitioning service members with the resources and services to succeed in the 21st Century workforce by meeting labor-market demands with qualified veterans. Veterans Representatives can help veterans secure employment and training and refer Veterans to other agencies for supportive services.

Montana Veterans’ Affairs
The Montana Veterans' Affairs promote the general welfare of Montana veterans by: establishing a statewide network of service for discharged veterans and their families; providing services and assistance for all Montana veterans and surviving spouses and dependents in coordination with associated federal and state agencies, veterans' services organizations, private organizations and individuals; and continuing education and assistance for the general public, governmental agencies and elected officials regarding veterans' services, programs, initiatives and policy. They also control the veterans' cemeteries.

Department of Labor and Industry
The Department of Labor and Industry serves as an employment agency, collects and disburses state unemployment trust funds, compiles and distributes employment statistics, provides training and technical assistance, disseminates labor market information, and oversees federal and state training and apprenticeship programs. The department enforces federal and state labor standards laws, state wage and hour laws, contractor registration, provides adjudicative services in labor and benefit claims disputes, enforces state and federal anti-discrimination laws, performs workers' compensation and safety regulatory duties, and coordinates wide-ranging community service and volunteer efforts statewide.

Montana National Guard – Yellow Ribbon Program
The purpose of the Montana Yellow Ribbon Program is to provide information, services, referrals, and outreach opportunities for service members, families, employers and youth throughout the entire deployment cycle.

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Center for Veterans Enterprise
Provides free professional development and business resources, minimizes access barriers and promotes the benefits of working with veteran-owned businesses to the public.

BUZGate.org
BUZGate.org provides an easy-to-use robust gateway to business mentors, information, goods, and services tailored to supporting small business start-up, growth, and profitability. BUZGate.org provides a reliable, trusted network where users can build knowledge and establish productive business-to-business relationships. Website content focuses on educating individuals about thousands of free and low-cost public assistance programs and productivity-enhancing business solutions that exist to support their businesses.

Colorado's Small Business Development Center Network
The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are dedicated to helping veteran small businesses throughout Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Montana achieve their goals of growth, expansion, innovation, increased productivity and success. The SBDC Network combines the resources of federal, state and local governments with those of the educational system and private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the veteran small business community. Management, financial and marketing experts work with veteran entrepreneurs to provide crucial information and guidance that can mean the difference between success and failure.

Boots to Business
Boots to Business: From Service to Startup is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-sponsored, worldwide program offered as a component of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP) renamed Transition GPS. Boots to Business is offered by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University (SU) and operated by SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), in partnership with SBA resource partners. Boots to Business is a three-step training program developed to introduce and train transitioning service members to business ownership. Boots to Business helps ensure that every transitioning service member has access to a standardized entrepreneurship training track and small business resources in their local communities. After completing Boots to Business participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local small business resources, and launch their small business.

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Indian Entrepreneur Program
The Indian Entrepreneur Program is focused on developing the capacity of Indian organizations on the reservations to mentor and support Indian business owners through classroom training, workshops, counseling and lending.

Rocky Boy Veterans
The mission of the Rocky Boy Veterans Center (VBOC) is to assist Rocky Boy Veterans in obtaining all benefits to which they have earned and to help create, develop, and retain veteran-owned small business enterprises through the VBOC.

Indian Country Economic Development Program
The Montana Department of Commerce Indian Country Economic Development (ICED) grant program improves economic opportunities for the eight tribal governments in Montana. Since its inception in the 59th Montana State Legislature the ICED program has supported ICED tribal government priority economic development projects, the Montana Indian Equity Fund, and the Montana Indian Entrepreneur Program.

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The majority of loans available to veterans will be through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Although many people are looking for grants, as the SBA says, "if you're looking for a small business grant, you probably won't find it." The SBA currently has one loan specifically for veterans:

Military Reservists Economic Injury Loan
The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) provides funds to help an eligible small business meet its ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to, because an essential employee was called-up to active duty in his or her role as a military reservist.

See more information on financing for veterans on the SBA website.

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The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) for Region VIII (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota) is located in Billings, Montana at Big Sky Economic Development. The SBDC Regional Director in Billings procured the center in 2015, and manages the program. The VBOC Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

Services Provided by the Centers:

  • Pre-Business Plan Workshops
  • Concept Assessments
  • Business Plan Preparations
  • Comprehensive Feasibility Analysis
  • Entrepreneurial Training and Counseling
  • Mentorship
  • Other Business Developmental Related Services


Center Contact Information:

Big Sky Economic Development Authority
222 North 32nd Street Suite 200, Billings, MT 59101
Website | 406-869-8408 | hudson@bigskyeda.org


MONTANA OFFICE OF TOURISM AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S. PARK AVE. | P.O. BOX 200533 | HELENA, MT 59620-0533 |  T: (406) 841-2870 |  F: (406) 841-2871 | TDD: (406) 841-2702