Bipartisan bill proposed to help service members succeed in small business

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 6:24 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A bipartisan bill proposal aims to connect service members with jobs in small businesses after their time in the military.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) are in support.

The lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation to help train service members exiting the military with skills for small business ownership. The Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Actor 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 service members and their spouses transitioning out of the military acquire the tools to succeed as small business owners.

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. 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.

“It’s providing opportunities for military members and their families that are separating off of active duty service to start entrepreneurial activities and small businesses in their own communities,” said Sen. Joni Ernst. “We know that small business is the backbone of Iowa as it is for many other states so we want these veterans to be able to engage in whatever their career passions might be as they are exiting the military.”

The founder of the Quad Cities Veterans Outreach Center says the legislation would help members transition back into society.

“All of the sudden they have to come back to society here and they have to choose a career and not only do they have to choose a career but get educated and trained in the career. Our legislation helping them get more training and financing is going to be a great asset for them,” said Lola VanDeWalle, Founder of the Quad Cities Veterans Outreach Center. “They will be able to build something, create something, become a big part of our business world and they can come back knowing they are going to have the chance and opportunity to pursue their own business and their own jobs.”

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