Veterans Entrepreneurial Program: Starting a Business

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Veterans in Central Oregon are invited to participate in entrepreneurial and small business training opportunities with the Small Business Development Center at Central Oregon Community College. Under a recent grant from the nonprofit Partnership to End Poverty, Veterans may enroll and receive scholarship funding for courses that range from the basics of how to start a business to navigating the challenges of growing a business that is well underway.  Courses vary in length and start throughout the year.

For Veterans who are launching an initial business, topics include how to assess a business idea, understand potential markets, evaluate funding requirements and develop a business plan. For the more seasoned business owner, the program includes opportunities to obtain a financial analysis, receive monthly counseling, and develop plans for growth and expansion.

Participants additionally work one-on-one with business advisor, Jose Balcazar, to identify individual needs and interests and select the best starting place in available courses. A Veteran and business owner, Jose mentors participants throughout the program and offers Veterans a unique perspective on challenges and opportunities.

“Veterans may start a business with no previous work experience in their community,” Jose said. “They are unfamiliar with local regulations, how to obtain licenses, insurance and other business supports. We provide assistance with everything from how to obtain a bank loan to how to find resources for Veteran-owned businesses.”

With more and more Veterans entering the marketplace and starting their own businesses, programs to support Veteran entrepreneurship are springing up around the country. This timely grant from the Partnership to End Poverty offers Central Oregon Veterans a chance to add specific business-building skills to their already impressive leadership skills and experience to carve out a place in our community.

Jose offered, “Veterans bring a lot of experience working with people but can sometimes use help finding and working with civilian employees. They know how to do the work in their business. They just may need some help doing research or working a local business environment.”

The program supports individuals who still serve on Active Duty, members of the National Guard or Reserve, and those who have completed their service in the armed forces. For more information or to register, please contact the Small Business Development Center at COCC at 541-383-7290.

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