By way of background, in 2010 Momentum Texas Inc (MTI) identified entrepreneurship training as a viable approach to combating the high rate of unemployment among veterans. Generally, overall veteran unemployment is 2 % over the national average, women veteran unemployment is 5% over the national average and veterans returning from lraq and Afghanistan have an unemployment rate exceeding 20%. MTI recognized one option for the unemployed veteran was to become a "entrepreneur of necessity" and create his or her own business, and also that veterans who are growing their businesses tend to hire more veterans. Currently 35,000 veterans are returning to Texas after deployment each year and SBA estimates that 25% are interested in starting a business. Although the national employment picture is improving it is anticipated that the number of veterans leaving the military will increase during the next 3 or 4 years thus creating a continued need for veteran entrepreneurship training.
The Tex Vet Biz Program empowers veterans who wish to start or grow a business by providing them entrepreneurship training programs to increase their chance of success. In the last 5 years MTI has trained over 2,000 veterans throughout Texas under the Tex Vet Biz Program and its predecessor the DFW Veterans Business Assistance Program. MTI training options include a 5 day "Jump Start Your Business" course developed by the Kauffman Foundation; 1 day entrepreneurship boot camps focused on management, marketing, and money; and 1 day business summits in three major cities with a plenary session, a luncheon speaker and two concurrent sessions with 3 tracks for startup businesses, emerging business owners and major contractors.
ln 2016 the Tex Vet Biz Program includes 8 training programs in DFW and 8 in other cities: • Three 5 Saturday “Jump Start Your Business" series with 2 series in Dallas and one in Ft. Worth.
• Three veteran entrepreneurship boot camps with two in Dallas and one in Ft. Worth and a DFW Women's Veterans Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
• A Texas Veterans Business Summit in Dallas.
• Two Regional Veterans Business Summits in Houston and San Antonio.
• Six entrepreneurship boot camps near major military facilities i.e. Ft. Hood, Ft. Bliss, Abilene, Corpus Christi, Texarkana, and Wichita Falls.
Based on the experience of MTI, of the 700 veterans that will attend Texas Vet Biz Program workshops in 2016, about half will decide that entrepreneurship is not for them at this time. This is a good outcome. This outcome is because MTI provides veterans the unvarnished truth about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and informs them regarding what they need to do to get ready for entrepreneurship. Based on past data, 25% of the remaining 350 veterans will take action to start a business or add a job to their business, making the initial impact subsequent to training 88 new jobs with more positive impact over time.
MTI has developed strong partnerships to carry out the Tex Vet Biz Program from resources such as SBA, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, over 120 pro bono veteran entrepreneurs and business service providers, and 9 retired and active duty general officers have spoken at MTI training events, including Brig General Robin Akin US Army (ret) who currently serves on the MTI Board.
In conclusion, entrepreneurship training benefits veterans and military families by empowering them to secure employment, generate income, and build wealth.
Veterans, active duty military, and spouses interested in starting or growing a business will get a unique opportunity to "jump start" their businesses by attending a free DFW Veteran's Entrepreneurship Boot Camp on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 8:30 a.m.…