Veterans Who Want to Start Small Businesses Have ‘Wingmen’

We’ll be their wingman … offering free counseling, contracting opportunities and access to capital,” said the new administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet, after visiting a “Boots to Business: From Service to Start-Up” class recently.

This year, the SBA will train 15,000 transitioning service members, introducing them to the basics of business ownership and providing guidance through partner groups nationwide, she said.

That includes transitioning veterans here in Tucson.

“Boots to Business” is offered locally at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, as well as in Phoenix and other Southern Arizona military communities.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports more than 94,000 veterans were residing in Pima County from 2008 to 2012. One in 10 entrepreneurs is a veteran, and veterans are self-starters, risk-tolerant and able to handle stress, as well as being disciplined and focused.

SCORE mentors — many of whom are also veterans — work with clients like Michael, who is still in the Army and attended “Boots to Business.” He designed travel industry proprietary software and needed SCORE’s advice on how to bring it to market.

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