Potential entrepreneurs at Fort Leavenworth have been learning about marketing, payrolls, legal issues, business loans and business plans.
It’s all part of a two-day workshop titled “Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup,” the first presented on post as part of mandatory Transition Assistance Program workshops for exiting service members. Future TAP workshops this fiscal year will deal with education and vocations.
The May 29-30 entrepreneurial workshop, sponsored by the Army Career and Alumni Program and taught by U.S. Small Business Administration officials, is designed to assist participants in understanding the steps, stages and activities related to launching and growing a business as a post-military career.
Other aspects of the two-day course help participants understand how business ownership might or might not align with their own personal strengths and life goals and provide introductory training and orientation to the fundamental tools and strategies associated with executing plans to launch a new business.
In addition to the workshop, participants must complete an eight-week online course to help them refine and define their business plans, according to Brett Rosene, ACAP manager, adding that another workshop is slated for July 31 to Aug. 1.
The entrepreneurial workshop will be taught every two months on post, as will an educational workshop taught by the Department of the Army and a vocational workshop taught by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Interest in the entrepreneurial workshop has been high, Rosene said, noting that all of the 36 seats in ACAP’s new high-tech classroom were filled.
Rosene said that 9 percent of all businesses in the United States, or 2.45 million businesses, are veteran-owned. Some of the better-known businesses include 24-Hour Fitness, FedEx, Proctor and Gamble, Verizon and 7-11.
“Veterans are well suited to become business owners because they’ve been taught responsibility, discipline, how to lead and aren’t scared to take chances,” Rosene said. “The advantage of having a veteran-owned business is that they tend to hire more veterans and our goal is to ensure that all veterans have a place to work after they leave the military.”
Rosene was excited about the “Boots to Business” workshop.
“I have a feeling that people who attend this will gain knowledge not just to start a business but will acquire business knowledge that they can use no matter what they do,” he said.
One person who did just that is Master Sgt. Ronny Da Costa, senior career counselor for Fort Leavenworth’s Combined Arms Center. He took part in the workshop not only for his personal interests in learning about entrepreneurship but also to help him counsel soldiers on their post-Army careers, he said.
He noted that he always stresses to soldiers leaving the military the importance of education, but for the most part, the education is geared toward trying to get a good job.
Page 2 of 2 - “Very seldom do we talk about getting out and starting your own business and provide them with information to pursue that career,” Da Costa said. “There’s never been actually training that will assist them in that venture.”
He said one of his goals once he retires from the military is to own his own business, which definitely will involve some sort of career-enhancement service for the military.
“I was very excited when I saw this workshop opportunity,” Da Costa said.