Columbia veterans to learn about owning a business

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COLUMBIA – Veterans in Columbia are getting an opportunity to learn about owning a business at the Boots to Business: Reboot program Thursday.

The program will have a daylong course introducing entrepreneurship to veterans of all ages and their spouses. The course will have “a focus on presenting the components of a business plan, a practical in opportunity recognition and an introduction to available public and private sector resources,” according to a press release.

Angie Wells is an economic development specialist and women’s and veteran’s representative for the U.S. Small Business Administration. She said this program can help veterans transitioning out of duty.

“We don’t want those veterans coming home and not really knowing what to do with themselves, so we want to put them to work, and this is a great way to get them doing that,” she said.

Wells said the original program was a partnership between the Small Business Administration and Syracuse University. It started on military bases as a part of a transition assistance program, but according to Wells, no one who had already transitioned could benefit from it.

The Reboot program started as a way to help people who retired from the armed forces, who already finished their tours or who do not live on bases, such as members of the National Guard or the reserve forces.

Wells said a main goal of the program is to get veterans involved in business so they can then help others and the economy.

“We’re hoping that a good percentage of them will actually start a business, and then, as they grow, they can start employing others,” she said.

Thursday’s workshop is just one part of the program. After that, the participants go on to an eight-week online course that teaches more about the foundations of entrepreneurship.

The workshop will be at the Small Business & Technology Development Center at REDI from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.