Veteran Business Grant & Training Program
“Honoring Our Veterans” Business Grant and Training Program
WHAT IS THE VETERANS BUSINESS GRANT AND TRAINING PROGRAM?
A business grant program designed to assist deserving qualified Veterans and/or their family members achieve their business dreams. This program is supervised and administered through Pinellas County SCORE.
WHY IS IT NEEDED?
While December 2010’s national unemployment rate was at its lowest level since May 2009, the average unemployment rate for veterans continues to climb year after year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released unemployment data for December 2010 which states that while the unemployment rate decreased slightly to 9.4 percent for the general population, the rate for Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans increased to 11.7 percent, up from 10 percent in November. At 11.5 percent in 2010, the average annual unemployment rate for these veterans has nearly doubled since 2007.
These numbers are incredibly troubling.
The Pinellas County SCORE Chapter, located in Clearwater, has developed a program to aid eligible veterans and/or family members in utilizing their talents and experience in starting businesses. To do this, we are offering the following:
- Operate in collaboration with Hillsborough County SCORE. This office will be linked to Clearwater, utilizing Skype so as to be able to take advantage of the extensive expertise available among our Counselors, and make it available to the veterans. We also will maintain a national link so we may call upon any needed expertise from our network of over 13,500 SCORE Mentors. Additionally, Veterans will be invited to come to the Clearwater SCORE office for face-to-face counseling.
- Our Chapter will coordinate its efforts with all the American Legion Posts, VFW’s and other many veterans’ organizations to spread the word as to the variety of free services we will provide.
- Our Chapter will work with every eligible Veteran in developing his/her Business Plan and funding requirements.
- Any eligible veteran interested in starting a business will be trained by our business experts in the basics of starting and successfully operating a business. Following a thorough evaluation of the client’s needs, Pinellas County SCORE will provide a training curriculum that typically could include a minimum of 20-30 hours of learning, featuring counseling sessions, seminars, and workshops. Training will also be offered to any of the eligible veteran’s immediate family members at or over the age of 16 who would be capable of assisting the veteran in operating the business.
- From generous donations made to a private foundation which our chapter has access to and dedicated specifically for this program, qualified veteran applicants, mentored by our chapter, will receive Business Assistance grants at the discretion of the foundation. Eligible veterans and/or family members who successfully demonstrate to our chapter’s experts, both a need and a viable business plan, can qualify for grants from the foundation up to $10,000 and in some cases may be larger. The grants will be for the purpose of obtaining business equipment (e.g., computers) marketing and PR services, as well as other uses, which in the opinion of our experts will contribute to the success of the business.
WHEN WILL THE PROGRAM START?
This annual program began in September 2012. Veterans as of September 11, 2001 may notify our office of their interest in the program any time.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM?
- Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan-era
- Active-duty service members eligible for the military’s Transition Assistance Program
- Reservists and National Guard members who served or are serving in theater
- Current spouses of any of the above
- The widowed spouse of a service member or veteran who served in Iraq or Afghanistan who died during service or of a service-related disability
WHAT IS SCORE?
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 9 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year SCORE helps launch 58,000 new businesses and create 71,000 jobs. SCORE provides small business mentoring and workshops to more than 375,000 new and growing small businesses annually.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.pinellascounty.score.org. Connect with SCORE at www.facebook.com/SCOREFans and www.twitter.com/SCOREMentors.
For more information about the Business Grant and Training Program, contact:
Cliff Sullivan Chairman
Pinellas County SCORE
4707 140 th Ave N #311
Clearwater, Florida 33762