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$4 million grant to MSU looks to empower business-minded veterans

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Mississippi State University continues to foster entrepreneurship among U.S. veterans with a five-year, approximately $4 million grant from the Small Business Administration.

The cooperative agreement funding opportunity, offered by the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development, is awarded based on an initial 12-month $824,100 project period plus four option years, subject to fund availability. The funding allows MSU, in partnership with the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD), to deliver Boots to Business instruction through a new online training course that will help transitioning military service members and their spouses develop a firm vision for their business models.

“Our training program is an accelerated platform designed to help entrepreneurial-minded veterans take their ideas from a concept to full operation in a relatively short timeframe, pushing them to create real, tangible results, as well as instilling in them a sense of self-motivated urgency,” MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald said. “Our ultimate goal is job creation and capital improvement. Small businesses are the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and our experienced team is anxious to work with our military heroes.”

The online training course, titled “B2B Revenue Readiness,” is based on curriculum MSU developed as part of the university’s 2016 SBA award in the “Lean for Main Street” challenge. Revenue Readiness participants will have a strong advantage when they transition to work with SBA resource partners to solidify and execute their business plans.

“Boots to Business is vital in connecting entrepreneurs with the vast ecosystem of SBA resources,” said SBA Associate Administrator of Veterans Business Development Barb Carson. “SBA is proud to administer this critical foundation for sustaining veteran entrepreneurship as a pillar of America’s small business economy.”

MSU’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) officially opened in 2015 with the help of an $825,000 SBA grant. In partnership with the College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach and the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans, the VBOC provides guidance for veterans, and their spouses, who either want to start a small business or grow their existing business. For more on the VBOC, visit

SBA’s Boots to Business program has served nearly 60,000 transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses since its launch in January 2013. The program is administered as a collaborative effort between SBA district offices, all SBA resource partners (VBOCs, Association of Women’s Business Centers, America’s Small Business Development Centers), OVBD, and grant (cooperative agreement) partners.

Information provided by Mississippi State University.

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