Veterans learn to start, manage their own businesses at training session
March 7, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 6, 2014) - What does it take to start a business?
Veterans, active-duty servicemembers and Family members found out during a free entrepreneur training session provided by Warrior Transition Feb. 27 at the Fort Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Center.
The session featured remarks from Larry Farrell, founder and chairman of The Farrell Company, the world's leading firm for researching and teaching entrepreneurship. Through his company, Farrell has trained six million people in entrepreneurship worldwide in the past 30 years.
"It's the first time we've done it for veterans," he said. "I got very intrigued by this possibility of exposing veterans to … entrepreneurship as a career option when they leave the military."
Farrell has authored four books on entrepreneurship, including the most recent, "The New Entrepreneurial Age." Some of his corporate clients include IBM, American Express, Business Week and Citibank.
During the training, he offered research on business strategies, and tips on innovating new products and building a customer base.
"They kind of have a blueprint, out of our teaching, of what it takes to start a small business," he said.
Understanding how to build a business is especially useful for servicemembers looking to transition out of the military in the near future, he said.
"They're re-entering a still soft job market," he said.
Servicemembers also have specialized skills they learned during their time in service, he added.
"They could have a small business doing stuff they actually learned in the military," he said.
Session participants also learned how to finance their venture from the Small Business Administration representative.
By the end of the course, many participants walked away with new ideas and even an action plan.
"This is an excellent course for individuals who have an idea, but don't know how to take that idea from their brains and put it on paper to get it implemented," said Steve Lewis, a former Army aviator and small business owner who attended the seminar.
Angelique Louis, an Army veteran, said she was excited to get started on her own business -- either starting a beauty shop or inventing new computer games for women.
"I'm learning a lot," said "If you have the opportunity, and you have a product that you know that you want to at least try to get out there, you should take that chance."
The training session was provided by Warrior Transition, a non-profit organization designed to support servicemembers and the spouses as they transition out of the military.
It is the first of many sessions to come, said John Trujillo, company founder and director. He hopes to expand the sessions to other locations as well.
"We do this on donations that we've collected," he said. "This course would probably cost a company or an individual about $500 to attend, but our non-profit has raised the funds for each of those people to attend."
Trujillo, who was a military child, launched the program in 2008. The program's focus is helping servicemembers find jobs when they leave military service.
"My dad was a World War II vet," Trujillo said. "When he got out in that time, he went through his training and got his job and moved on. With our economy and everything going on, that's not happening. I just see these (veterans) that are coming out right now that aren't getting jobs and to me, the quickest way to help our economy and get things going is to help them create a business.
"They don't have to wait for someone to call them for an interview. They're creating their own future."
For more information on Warrior Transition and upcoming seminars, visit www.warriortransition.com.
For more information on Larry Farrell and his company, visit www.thespirit ofenterprise.com.