WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran and a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is partnering with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a fellow female veteran, on a bipartisan effort to help America’s servicemembers succeed in small business and entrepreneurship after their time in the military.
The lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation to help train servicemembers exiting the military with skills for small business ownership. The Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act—or the VET Act—would codify into law for five years the “Boots to Business” initiative under the Small Business Administration (SBA), a pilot program originally launched in 2013 in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) designed to help servicemembers and their spouses transitioning out of the military acquire the tools to succeed as small business owners.
“Our servicemembers and their families sacrifice so much to protect and defend our nation, and when they transition out of the day-to-day military life, it’s important they have the support to succeed,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The ‘Boots to Business’ initiative is an excellent resource that equips our servicemembers with the training and tools necessary to enter the civilian business world. I’m excited to partner with my colleague, and fellow veteran, Senator Duckworth on this effort to support our veterans and their families.”
The SBA’s “Boots to Business” program provides small business entrepreneurship training to military personnel exiting the military under the SBA, in partnership with the DOD through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). However, since the program is not currently codified into law, it could be closed at any time under the discretion of either federal agency.
In addition to codifying this program into law for five years, the VET Act will also require that reports are issued to Congress to measure the program’s success, detailing program costs, the number of participants, the completion rates, the generalized demographic information, the jobs created, the number of small businesses formed, and other data.