Center helps veterans start businesses

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The college is funding the project with a $250,000 federal grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development, which awarded six such grants to higher education systems from Hawaii to Georgia on May 17.

MiraCosta’s Veterans Business Outreach Center is scheduled to open June 20 at the college’s Technology Career Institute, 2075 Las Palmas Drive in Carlsbad.

“We at MiraCosta College feel a deep sense of gratitude for the service of our veterans and have long been committed to providing veterans and active-duty military with the services they need and deserve in transitioning back to civilian life,” said Sunny Cooke, MiraCosta College superintendent/president.

The college has operated a resource center for veterans since 2009 and opened a Veterans Information Center at its Oceanside campus in 2014 to serve the 1,500 veterans who make up about 10 percent of the school’s student body.

While that center offers counseling and helps students navigate G.I. Bill benefits, employment, housing and health care, the new Business Outreach Center will focus on helping veterans who are entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses.

It will support veterans from San Diego to Santa Barbara, as the other nearest Veterans Business Outreach Center is in Sacramento.

Across the nation, Veterans Business Outreach Centers serve about 60,000 people annually with entrepreneurial development workshops, counseling and assistance in developing business plans.

A key component of the MiraCosta College effort includes outreach to increase participation in the Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business training program. That program includes a two-day introduction to entrepreneurship course for military members interested in starting a business and an eight-week online course with in-depth instruction on the elements of a business plan and techniques for starting a new business.

Boots to Business programs are at Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms, the Marine Corps Reserve Depot in San Diego, Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Ventura County, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Edwards Air Force Base, and Fort Irwin National Training Center.

Since 2013, the Boots to Business program has trained more than 40,000 transitioning service members, reservists, National Guard members and military spouses.

“Veterans Business Outreach Centers are out front synergizing the veteran small business ecosystem,” said Barbara Carson, an associate administrator with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development.

“We look forward to continuing to work with centers to empower U.S. service members, military spouses and all eras of veterans in starting and growing small businesses,” she continued.

For more information, call the Veterans Business Outreach Center at 760-795-8739.

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