Veterans have a significant impact on the economy as owners of their own businesses. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2007, veterans owned about 2.4 million businesses or nine percent of all American businesses. These businesses generated $1.2 trillion in receipts and employed nearly 6 million Americans. In addition, a recent SBA study found that military service exhibits one of the largest marginal effects on self-employment, and veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.

Targeted Services for Veterans

The Small Business Development Centers provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of all historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including veterans.

To find your local SBDC, click here.

Programs and Resources


  • As of September 1, 2012, the certification process for becoming a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) or a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) is no longer handled by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Small Business Opportunities. SDVOSB and VOSB certification is now being administered and evaluated by the Veteran Affairs Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
  • The Vets First Contracting Program ensures that legitimately owned and controlled VOSBs and SDVOSBs are able to compete for VOSB and SDVOSB set-aside opportunities and are accredited by the Department of Veteran Affair's large prime contractors for subcontract plan achievements.


  • Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program provides funds to help an eligible small business meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it is unable to meet, due to an essential employee’s deployment in their role as a military reservist.
  • 44 Business Capital provides SBA loan assistance to small businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C. They offer specialized services to educate and assist local veterans with the SBA loan program.


  • Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s revised Transition Assistance Program (TAP). It is a three phase training program developed to introduce and train transitioning service members to business ownership. In addition, participants are introduced to SBA resources available to help access startup capital and additional technical assistance. It is available free of charge at the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.
  • Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities is intended for service-disabled veterans of Post-9/11 conflicts, but pre-9/11 service disabled veterans are accepted on a space available basis. This free program, also administered by the IVMF, involves the completion of a 30 day online curriculum, followed by a nine day residency (all travel and local costs and airport pick-up are included) at the host university and a year of free business support thereafter.
  • Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Families is an education and self-employment training program also operated for free by the IVMF. The program seeks to provide a vocational path forward for military family members by integrating training in entrepreneurship with caregiver and family issues. Small business management training and balancing caregiver and family issues, assists the family member to start and grow a small business. 
  • Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship is a similar program to EBV also run by the IVMF. This free program is for female veterans from any branch and era. The program consists of a fifteen day online course and a three day residency at a site in the U.S. annually. The three day residency is paid for, but transportation and the $75 application fee are not.  Hardship waivers are sometimes available.
  • Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network is a non-profit organization that offers veteran professional leadership and veteran entrepreneurship programs. They offer a Veteran Shark Tank in which aspiring veteran entrepreneurs can pitch their business plan to a panel of local CEOs and an audience. The winning pitch receives a monetary prize and business services, and all applicants receive free business coaching.

Business Planning

  • Veteran Business Outreach Centers provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.


  • The National Veterans Business Development Conference & Expo is an annual conference for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and federal procurement opportunities. It offers the opportunity of networking with federal agencies, commercial corporations, and prime contractors.
  • VetNet is an online career resource hosted via Google+ that has an entrepreneur track. VetNet Entrepreneur offers online resources in addition to an eight-week cycle of two public Hangouts per week: one offering entrepreneurship courses covering topics including pathways to business ownership, opportunity recognition, markets and competition, small business econ, choosing the right entity, financing the project, intro to business planning and next steps; and the other offering  “Office Hours” with a host of experts, including successful business owners, vetrepreneurs, business course instructors, small business lawyers, angel investors, SBA lending relations, and crowd sourcing experts. The Hangouts are archived on YouTube for future viewing.

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