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Boots to Business: Entrepreneurship training program comes to Buckley

Joe Long, Veterans Business Outreach Center, N.M., instructs a class on opportunity recognition as part of Boots to Business July 11, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.  Boots to Business is a joint effort by Syracuse University, N.Y. and the U.S. Small Business Administration designed to train transitioning service members in business ownership. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Trevor Zakrzewski/Released)

Joe Long, Veterans Business Outreach Center, N.M., instructs a class on opportunity recognition as part of Boots to Business July 11, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Boots to Business is a joint effort by Syracuse University, N.Y. and the U.S. Small Business Administration designed to train transitioning service members in business ownership. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Trevor Zakrzewski/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- More than a dozen prospective business owners attended a class June 11 - 12 that focused on entrepreneurial skills for post-military life.

The purpose of the Boots to Business course is "to give (participants) an introduction to entrepreneurship," said Amy McDowell, U.S. Small Business Administration's Colorado district public affairs specialist and co-lead for the effort.

The two-day curriculum explored different factors and variables involved in starting a business. Training modules include opportunity recognition, market research, financing, business planning and information about additional resources outside the classroom.

The program also showed transitioning service members how their military experiences match the abilities required to start a business. According to the Boots to Business website, while military veterans represent approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for almost 15 percent of all business owners.

"They've been getting these skills all along through (professional military education) and through other training they've had in the military," said Patricia Pope, Airman and Family Readiness Center chief.

The course is a progression of the Transition Assistance Program and was a first for Buckley, Pope said. Participants in TAP now have the option to select one of three specialized tracks: higher education, technical skills or entrepreneurship. Colorado's branch of the SBA took the lead on the entrepreneurship track, which is available to military spouses, veterans and retirees.

McDowell helped facilitate the program by providing four representatives from the SBA, Service Corps of Retired Executives and Veterans Business Outreach Center.

"They do this kind of training every single day," McDowell said. "It's a perfect fit for SBA and SBA's resource partners to come and do this entrepreneurship training for (eligible participants)."

Following the course, participants had the opportunity to take an eight-week online class to receive a more in-depth education before beginning the road to business ownership.

Boots to Business was created by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, N.Y., in cooperation with the SBA.
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