In May, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the national $1.5 million grant funding supporting the expansion of the Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) program.
CWE is a Regional Partner Organization (RPO) of WBENC, providing WBENC Certification to women-owned businesses and helping established women business owners access new corporate contracts with organizations that are actively seeking diverse suppliers.
The VBOCs are responsible for supporting transitioning service members as they embark on self-employment or entrepreneurship. Part of the VBOC funding is used to cover costs involved in doing outreach to increase participation in the Boots to Business entrepreneurship training program on military installations in the U.S. and its territories.
CWE provides education, training, resources and connections to entrepreneurs throughout MA, RI, NH and VT, with office locations in Eastern MA (Boston), Central MA (Westborough), New Hampshire (Nashua), and Rhode Island (Providence) and Vermont. CWE Rhode Island will house the VBOC. States and regions were selected as potential VBOC sites based on program demand, military installation, and transitioning population data.
"CWE’s experience in delivering programs to people in transition, aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, will enable us to uniquely curate our programs and services for the veteran population. We are honored to have been selected as the SBA’s resource partner and look forward to working with the men and women who have been in service to our nation,” said Susan Rittscher, President & CEO, Center for Women & Enterprise.
“The SBA welcomes the new VBOC award recipients,” said Barbara Carson, Associate Administrator, SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “VBOCs are out front, synergizing the veteran small business ecosystem. We look forward to continuing to work with the centers to empower U.S. service members, military spouses, and all eras of veterans in starting and growing small businesses.”
VBOCs are directed by the Small Business Act (Title 15 U.S.C. sec 637 (b)) to participate in the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program. Since 2013, the Boots to Business program has trained over 40,000 transitioning service members, Reservists and National Guard members, and military spouses. The VBOCs also counsel and mentor approximately 60,000 veteran clients each year.
Each year SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans, and National Guard and Reserve service members, and military spouses start and grow their small businesses. Veterans’ business development is available in each state at SBA District Offices and at VBOCs located throughout the U.S. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.