Marines lead new SBA program helping military members start businesses

The U.S. Marine Corps is piloting a program to help American service members and veterans become entrepreneurs and create jobs.

The national initiative, called Operating Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, was developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said, in a press release. “Through this partnership, we stand ready with support, entrepreneurial training and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive economic growth and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”

The program will initially start at four locations—Quantico, Va., Cherry Point, N.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif.—before expanding across the nation in 2013, according to the SBA.

Participants will attend introductory classes on entrepreneurship and go through an eight-week online business planning course designed by Syracuse University. After completed the program, service members and veterans will have access to continued counseling and training through the SBA and its resource network.

There are 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses nationwide employing more than 5 million workers, and 9 percent of U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, according to the SBA.

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