Recognizing Veterans and Entrepreneurs

During this National Entrepreneur Month, we not only recognize the tenacity of small business owners, but our veterans who took the leap of faith to open a small business. While November is widely known as a time our country honors and recognizes the contributions veterans made to our country, it’s also a moment we acknowledge the impact entrepreneurs have made to our economy; both adding valuable contributions to our country.
Becoming an entrepreneur is challenging and rewarding, all at the same time. Sometimes it requires you to take that leap of faith by moving from fear to faith and taking the plunge to do that thing you’ve been wanting to do for a long while – but you just couldn’t figure out the right time to do it! Perhaps, now is the time. If you’re interested in getting your business started but don’t know where or how to get started, here are few things to consider:
Make a plan/Attend trainings, workshops or webinars. To get started, register now for the free AARP From Passion to Profit, Part 2: Veteran Entrepreneurship Webinar on November 9th at 3PM EST. During this session, moderated by SBA’s Jamie Wood, panelists Lee Dougherty (Founder, Operation Rally Point), Joseph Parker (Founder, iN2STEM Solutions, Inc.) will discuss the challenges and rewards of being a small business owners, as well as how they used their military skills to start a business. Gaea Honeycutt (Founder, Hypatian Institute, Inc.) and Charles McCaffrey (Director, Veterans Business Outreach Center), who work with veterans, will highlight resources and support available for veteran entrepreneurs. Organizations such as AARP, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Veteran Affairs GI Bill; Bunker Labs; and the Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Program, all have training programs and/or offer funding to assist aspiring veteran business owners. Or, attend an event during SBA Veterans Small Business Week to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur.
Talk to an expert. I’m sure you know someone in business who has experienced the highs and lows of being a business owner. Reach out and request time to chat to ask about their experiences and how they got started; particularly if they are in your desired industry. Ask them about the challenges and successes of being a business owner and being your own boss. From there you can determine if starting a small business is right for you.
Get a mentor. The SBA has great resource partners such as SCORE, a group of retired business executives, to offer persons in business or interested in starting a business one on one assistance to help you get and stay on track. SCORE mentors are located in most cities though the US and have a proven track record helping entrepreneurs be successful.
Get funded. Funding is one of the most common road blocks to getting your business off the ground. There are a number of non-traditional ways to get funded through entities such as, KIVA, Fundera and Community Development Funding Institutions (CDFI) looking to help your business build and grow. Consider seeking an angel investor(s) and/or fundraising through GoFundMe to get people interested in supporting your business.
Don’t let failure stop you. Studies show that many businesses fail in the first 5 years. This may not apply to you, so do not let that discourage you. Launching a small business takes risk and fortitude to see your dream become a reality. Be committed to moving from idea to “open for business.”
Support small businesses. The challenges and rewards of self-employment are partly due to the support of fellow business owners. Take a moment on Small Business Saturday, November 25th to support small businesses. Remember, their survival depends on you.
AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.
Photo: AARP
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