Workshops and activities are scheduled at Catalyst Campus, Fort Carson and the Olympic Training Center beginning Nov. 1 in recognition of National Veterans Small Business Week.
The events are for Colorado veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, military spouse entrepreneurs and business owners.
The Small Business Administration is conducting the events with help from its local resources partners: the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, the Southern Colorado SBDC and the Colorado Springs SCORE chapter.
“Colorado Springs is a prime environment for veterans and transitioning military personnel who own a business or want to start one,” said SBA Colorado Deputy District Director Joshua Vigil, who is an Air Force veteran and member of the National Guard. “Our goal is to get the word out so if a veteran wishes to embark on a new career as a business owner, it’s important they know that there is a network of partners who can assist them. They don’t have to go it alone.”
National Veterans Small Business Week began Oct. 30 and featured a two-day networking and resource fair in Pueblo.
Four events are scheduled Wednesday, Nov. 1, with three of those at the Harvey House on the Catalyst Campus.
A workshop called “Veteran Affairs Certification” runs 10 a.m.-noon at Catalyst Campus. From 1-2:30 p.m., “Navigating Federal, State and Local Small Business Certifications” will be at Catalyst Campus, followed by “Franchising for Veterans” from 2:30-4 p.m. at the Harvey House.
Fort Carson and the Olympic Training Center will each host a two-day event starting Nov. 1. “Boots to Business” will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Fort Carson. To register, contact the Transition Manager/Family Readiness Center. The OTC will host “Colorado Springs Government Procurement and Exhibition Summit” from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The “Small Business & Government Contracting Seminar” starts 8:30 a.m. Nov. 2 at the Harvey House. Walk-in registration is $15 to cover lunch; pre-registration is $10.
A closing networking session runs 3:30-5:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Harvey House. The SBDC Veterans Small Business Program consultants will be available along with SBA officials and other local resource partners who can assist with business needs. Light refreshments will be provided by the Pikes Peak SBDC.
“We focused on having more events this year,” Vigil said. “We hope, in the years to come, that National Veterans Small Business Week becomes as big as Small Business Week.”
Vigil said veterans and their businesses have a big impact on the economy — both nationally and locally.
“Veteran small businesses contribute $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy,” he said.
The SBA supports those businesses, he noted, partly through its loan program and banking partners.
“In El Paso County, there were 27 SBA loans for $4.8 million last fiscal year,” he said. “That averages $178,000 per borrower. Why is that significant? I say because it translates to growth for their business and the local economy and often leads to the hiring of more employees.”
Vigil said all events for National Veterans Small Business Week are free, except for the one at the Olympic Training Center and the Harvey House seminar on Nov. 2. No pre-registration is necessary for any of the events, he said.