The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it would award as much as $300,000 in Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program grants to three organizations that provide small business development resources to women veterans and military spouses. The funding comes specifically from the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development.
SBA says each awardee was chosen based on their “demonstrated history of and commitment to” providing training programs and resources to women.
SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, who in February was sworn in, said, “Increasingly, women small business owners are contributing in a major way to the growth of the U.S. economy, and women veterans bring a unique and valued skill set to entrepreneurship. Funding these organizations involved in helping women veterans and military spouses establish successful businesses will go a long way towards securing the future for these women and their families.”
Awardees for the new Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program grants include
Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, Bunker Labs and Lift Fund.
Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University was awarded $135,000 based on its V-WISE program, which is described as “an intensive three-phase program containing a 15-day online preparatory course, a two-day residency program and post-training technical support.” It also provides an accelerated version of the course called “IGNITE.”
Bunker Labs was awarded $90,000 for its Entrepreneurial Program for Innovation and Collaboration (EPIC) and “Bunker in a Box.” The former is a 14-week training course, where participants meet weekly and have access to “Bunker in a Box,” which is an online program.
The Lift Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps small business owners with limited access to capital, secured a $75,000 grant from the SBA. It offers a seven-week course including in-person and online training, covering technical assistance, capital requirements, etc.
The SBA says women veteran-owned small businesses represent a “burgeoning economic powerhouse” in the military small business community, and that as of 2012, women veterans owned 383,302 businesses, generating $17.9 billion in sales.
The number of women veteran-owned small businesses increased by nearly 300 percent over the five years from 2007 to 2012, according to the SBA…even though they represent just 15.2 percent of all veteran-owned businesses.
As long as the SBA continues to provide assistance and focus-specific initiatives on both women-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses in this country, the numbers should continue to move in the right direction from there. Considering that these are among the first announced grants from the administration under its new leadership, this could be a sign of good things to come.