3 Ways Veterans Can Get Free Business Training

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, speaks to service members attending a "Boots to Business" class in the Pentagon (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Varhegyi).

Veteran entrepreneurs are ideally suited to outperform and outearn their civilian counterparts, according to a study by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Traditional routes to starting a business often require veterans to earn a degree. But a growing number of boot camp-style programs aim to help vets start their business faster, with greater success and without the debt that accompanies a college degree.

Here are three free ways vets can level up their business acumen and start their own business:

1. Boots to Business

Consider Boots to Business a starting point for entering the entrepreneurial world. The Small Business Administration offers its Boots to Business course to active-duty military ready to transition to civilian life and its ReBoot to Business course to veterans of any era seeking to start a business.

The Boots to Business and ReBoot courses offers an overview of business fundamentals that will help veterans develop a sound business plan and access start-up capital resources, networking opportunities and in-depth business training.

The SBA also partners with Syracuse University's Institute of Veterans and Military Families to provide further training, including the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), EBV Accelerate and more.

For more information or to apply, visit the Small Business Administration website.

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2. Patriot Boot Camp

While Patriot Boot Camp (PBC) is mostly focused on tech entrepreneurship, it is open to all types of business-minded veterans.

PBC offers an intensive, free three-day Technology Entrepreneurship Training. In addition to seminar-style classes led by industry professionals, what really makes PBC shine is the support offered afterward. According to James Rolin, chief operating officer of Cowboy Cricket Farms and a PBC attendee, it offers "an enthusiastic community of industry experts" available to help entrepreneurs long after they've finished the training.

According to Patriot Boot Camp's website, it has trained more than 550 veterans, active-duty members and spouses since 2012.

PBC is free to troops, vets and their spouses. To find out more or to apply, visit Patriot Boot Camp.

3. VetToCEO Inc.

VetToCEO is a robust community of military veteran entrepreneurs who design and facilitate programs, both online and in a classroom. The programs are free for qualified active-duty military and veterans.

What started as a small volunteer project for the founders in 2012 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has blossomed into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has helped more than 3,000 active-duty personnel and veterans kick-start their businesses.

Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors, VetsToCEO's seven-week core program, assists participants in crafting a business plan, in addition to providing the support of a successful entrepreneur community.

According to the VetsToCEO website, "veterans can join the program at any time through a simple registration process in a rolling enrollment model. Proof of military service is required as part of the registration process, which takes minutes to complete."

To find out more or to enroll, visit VetToCEO.

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-- Sean Mclain Brown can be reached at sean.brown@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @seanmclainbrown.

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