The Entrepreneur Ecosystem Still Exist
Increase your awareness of entrepreneurial development resources and opportunities to unlock the doors to economic value for yourself.
Following WWII, almost half of those transitioning out of the military started a business. Today, less than five percent of transitioning service men and women pursue entrepreneurship. Why is there such a gap?
To support the entrepreneurial efforts of transitioning veterans after WWII, the federal government formed the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA provided counseling, access to capital and access to government contracts enabling newly formed business to ramp up. Retired executives from existing businesses volunteered to provide mentoring for these nascent business owners. An entire ecosystem of support services was apparent and readily available to empower veterans to leverage their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Today, this entrepreneurial ecosystem still exists, but the resources are not as apparent. Even with the addition of small business development centers, women’s business centers, procurement technical assistance centers and a myriad of other entrepreneurial development partners, most transitioning service men and women are not aware of this valuable ecosystem.
“I have never heard of SCORE,” is the answer I most often receive when I query the military connected community regarding their knowledge of small business resources. In addition to the generic request for information on starting a business, “How can I finance my business” is the most frequently asked question. Yet, Community Development Companies (CDC), Community Development Financial Intermediaries (CFDI) and SBA loan programs are foreign to transitioning service members.
This lack of awareness of entrepreneurial development resources dampens the desire to pursue the American dream of business ownership. Coupled with a lack of access to capital, today’s transitioning service men and women forego the opportunity to grow, improve and prosper as the entrepreneurs they desire to be. Many settle for underemployment in jobs they do not relish, and suffer from diminished hope for the future.
There are resources and information that can inspire an amazing transformation in the lives of those who have served and want to continue serving. Combine that information with personal motivation and attack. Attack the problems that keep you and others up at night. Attack the problems that plague our communities. Attack the problems that lead to veteran poverty, homelessness, mental and physical incapacity. Attack the problems that are best solved by trained warriors who have served and want to continue serving.
Free seminars, workshops, webcast and on-demand training are available in an abundance. Attending conferences allows you to get face-to-face with aspiring and successful entrepreneurs that have walked the path you are now treading. Connect with customers—and big brands—that are seeking the solutions you provide to their problems. Find mentors willing to stand side by side with you as you journey through the process of launching, growing and winning as a business owner. Remember, “education costs, but it pays for itself.”
Entrepreneurs take action. By increasing your awareness of and facilitating your access to entrepreneurial development resources and opportunities, you unlock the doors to new and innovative solutions that translate into economic value for yourself and the world around you. To expand your resource network, contact Patrick E Alcorn at 214.606.9034 or email patrickalcorn.@johnmaxwellgroup.com.