A printmaker, a health and wellness coach, a cardboard manufacturer sit in a classroom among other classmates with two major things in common. All are veterans and all are entrepreneurs ready to grow their business.
A study by the SBA Office of Advocacy found that veterans are almost 50 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans. Veterans may turn to entrepreneurship as a way to establish work-life balance and financial independence or due to dissatisfaction with available workforce opportunities.
Military training can provide the discipline, leadership, perseverance, and propensity for teamwork that make a successful entrepreneur. The rate of veteran entrepreneurship, however, is declining. Challenges to launching a business like access to adequate capital, finding mentorship, and business plan design are only more apparent for veterans.
To remedy these challenges, the Temple Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Warrior Rising are launching a Small Business Special Forces Incubator, a six-month program located at the Temple University Ambler Campus SBDC location. The program consists of weekly business planning classes, incubator space, mentorship, and a pitch competition. According to the SBDC, classes are specifically designed to translate the skills that veterans gain in the military to the competencies needed in the business world. This class is being offered at no charge to the participants.
“The Veterans Incubator has given my business the tools to scale up by providing business knowledge, resources and funding opportunities,” Miya Park, who is interested in expanding her catering business. “As a single mother and veteran, this opportunity can change the course of my business and family’s future for the better. I am forever grateful.”
Classes cover essential business plan building blocks like marketing and running operations. Participants will also learn about how to access existing programs that help veteran business owners locate capital, take advantage of tax credits, and hire other veterans. Pre-venture businesses will also have access to start-up grants from Warrior Rising.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Warrior Rising to partner with Temple SBDC to bring our program of instruction for business start-up and growth to Greater Philadelphia area veteran entrepreneurs,” said Ken Vennera, Programming Chair of Warrior Rising. “Warrior Rising looks forward to continuing to assist veterans with building upon their military training and experience to become successful in their own businesses."
The first Small Business Special Forces Incubator cohort will deliver their business pitches on December 18 at Temple University Ambler.
The Temple Small Business Development Center is an outreach center of the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University that has been serving Philadelphia and the surrounding communities since 1983. The SBDC’s highly trained and experienced staff provides start-ups and small businesses with professional knowledge and assistance. Its mission is to help small businesses grow and succeed.
For more information, visit the SBDC online.
Warrior Rising is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by former combat veterans, dedicated to helping hundreds of veterans nationwide achieve success in business through instruction, mentoring, funding access and maintaining the veteran community. Warrior Rising empowers U.S. veterans and their immediate families by providing them opportunities to create sustainable businesses, perpetuate the hiring of fellow U.S. military veterans and earn their future.
Story provided by, Jamie Shanker-Passero, Associate Director, Small Business Development Center