By Hannah Becker
Business training can be a good way for military spouse entrepreneurs with businesses in all stages of development – from ideation to national scale – to strategize for business growth.
While there’s no one way to start and grow a successful business, participating in formal business training can help entrepreneurs identify new opportunities, forecast business-related challenges, and develop an effective plan focused on company sustainability.
Even if your business is currently meeting performance goals, re-evaluating business operations through the lens of an outside perspective can be helpful. For military spouses, there are multiple business training options available at no cost.
Here are seven free business training resources for military spouse entrepreneurs. NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the accessibility of the listed programs may have be adapted to remote access. Interested entrepreneurs should check program websites for the most recent pandemic-related updates.
Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship
Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship is a five-month business training program located in the Washington, D.C., area. The fellowship program is an immersive entrepreneurial experience in a working bakery, where fellows learn innovative business strategies while earning a certificate in business administration from Georgetown University. Accounting, communication, finance, management, marketing, and small business are a few of the topics covered in the fellowship program.
The program is open to post-9/11 military veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses, and veteran caregivers. Fellows receive a monthly stipend.
Veterans Business Outreach Center
The Small Business Administration’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program provides free business training and entrepreneurial resources to transitioning servicemembers, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, veterans, and military spouses. Services include business planning workshops, business concept assessments, one-on-one entrepreneur counseling, and mentorship.
If you’re an aspiring military spouse entrepreneur, or a business owner interested in taking your company to the next level, the VBOC program may be a place to get started. Visit the Office of Veterans Business Development website to find a VBOC location near you.
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Bunker Labs is a veteran-founded national nonprofit dedicated to the business success of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Offering several different programs, developed in alignment with the many different stages of business growth, Bunker Labs provides military-connected entrepreneurs with resources to start and grow a business. Bunker Lab’s Launch Lab Online is a virtual business training program and networking community.
Additionally, Bunker Lab’s programs include Veterans in Residence, a six-month startup incubator, and CEOcircle, a mastermind group for post-revenue companies. Bunker Labs offers something for entrepreneurs in all stages of development.
While not specific to the military community, SCORE is a resource that offers mentoring for military spouse entrepreneurs. SCORE is a nonprofit organization that is known as the largest network of volunteer business mentors in the United States. All of SCORE’s business training and support resources are available at no cost.
Offerings include on-demand mentoring, educational webinars, online courses, a library of business resources, and local events. SCORE can provide ongoing support for entrepreneurs throughout their business life cycle.
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LinkedIn Learning provides free online business training courses that cover a variety of entrepreneurship topics to LinkedIn Premium members. While LinkedIn Premium is typically available on a paid, subscription basis, a free one-year LinkedIn Premium subscription is available for military community members through the following programs:
- Military spouses are eligible for a free LinkedIn Premium subscription with each career change, permanent change of station, or job loss.
- Veteran caregivers currently enrolled in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers are eligible for a free LinkedIn Premium subscription.
- Veteran caregivers registered with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community are eligible for a free LinkedIn Premium subscription.
Boots to Business
Boots to Business is an entrepreneur training course delivered through the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Active-duty servicemembers, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, veterans of all eras, and military spouses are eligible to participate in the course.
“Introduction to Entrepreneurship” — the initial Boots to Business course offering — provides participants with information on how to start a business. After completing the “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” course, participants can continue their study with the Boots to Business “Revenue Readiness” online course.
SBA’s Learning Center
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides support for entrepreneurs. In addition to several commercial lending programs, the SBA offers free online business training through the SBA Learning Center.
Courses include business planning, financing a small business, legal requirements for small business, pricing models and social media marketing. In addition to the Learning Center, the SBA offers one-on-one business counseling, a business guide, and federal contracting assistance.
Starting and growing a business can be a daunting task. Business training can be an excellent way for entrepreneurs to develop their business skills and reach organizational goals. Approaching business training options with an open mind can help prepare entrepreneurs to lead their company through the many stages of business development.
These courses can benefit military spouses who are just beginning to consider an entrepreneurial path. If you’re in the beginning stages of exploring entrepreneurship, the SBA Learning Center’s How to Write a Business Plan course is a good place to start.
Hannah Becker is a marketing professional, tech innovator, and military spouse. She currently works as the creative director for Becker Digital and is an adjunct instructor of business, computer science, and economics.