The Ultimate Guide for Veteran Entrepreneurs in North Dakota: Start Your Journey Here!

6 mins read
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Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs in North Dakota

Navigating life after service can present a unique set of challenges for our veterans. As business owners, community leaders, and fellow citizens, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure they have access to the resources and support they deserve. In this feature, we’ve curated a guide filled with resources tailored for our North Dakota-based veterans. 

While this may not include every resource available to veterans, this is a great starting point for any veteran looking to take the next steps in their entrepreneurial journey. Whether you’re a veteran yourself, or simply someone looking to lend a hand, we hope this guide serves as a beneficial starting point for a brighter, more supportive future. 

Federal and Nationwide Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – Office of Veterans Business Development

The U.S. (SBA) – The Office of Veterans Business Development is a dedicated segment within the SBA, aiming to empower veterans on their entrepreneurial journey. Offering a robust array of resources, this office simplifies the path from military service to business ownership. Veteran entrepreneurs can explore various financing options provided to kickstart or expand their ventures. Additionally, the office facilitates business training programs designed to equip veterans with the essential skills and knowledge required in today’s competitive business environment.

Furthermore, the office acts as a gateway, connecting veteran entrepreneurs to a broader network of resources, ensuring they are well-prepared and supported in their commercial endeavors. Through its comprehensive offerings, the Office of Veterans Business Development stands as an ally for veterans transitioning into the business domain, making the journey smoother and more attainable.

VA Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

The OSDBU is dedicated to ensuring that veteran entrepreneurs are well-positioned to access and capitalize on federal contracting opportunities. By offering a bridge between veterans and government contracting, OSDBU helps to make the often complex federal procurement landscape easier to understand. The office provides essential guidance, tools, and resources to help veterans understand the requisites and processes involved in government contracting.

The OSDBU is committed to fostering a supportive environment that enables veterans to thrive in their business endeavors with the government. Through the VA OSDBU, veterans not only gain the insight needed to navigate the federal contracting sphere but also find a supportive ally in their journey toward achieving business growth and sustainability. 

Veteran Business Project (VBP)

VBP promotes veteran small business ownership opportunities by getting military, veterans, and spouses into business. VBP educates active duty military, veterans, business owners, financial institutions, public and private sectors, the general public, and legislators on the necessity for pro-veteran small business ownership and accompanying realistic federal and state business lending programs. The organization then connects these groups to facilitate veterans’ small business ownership.

The VBP does this by proudly offering their unique “vharmony™️” business match-making service, connecting veterans/spouses seeking to acquire established businesses with business owners wanting to divest. Their vharmony™ service includes a caseworker to facilitate the often challenging road to purchase, as well as a seasoned business mentor after the completed transaction.

Vets First Verification Program

The Vets First Verification Program is a notable initiative that opens doors for veteran entrepreneurs, enabling them to compete for specific small business set-asides, or acquisitions exclusively for participation by small businesses, provided by the Veterans Affairs (VA). This program acknowledges the sacrifices made by veterans and aims to facilitate their transition into the business realm.

The process of verification is meticulously designed to ensure that the benefits reach genuine veteran-owned enterprises. By providing a platform for veterans to thrive commercially, the Vets First Verification Program significantly contributes to the broader objective of empowering veterans beyond their military service, aiding them in establishing a solid foundation in the business sector.

Upon successful verification, veteran-owned small businesses gain eligibility to partake in the VA’s set-asides, thus having a competitive edge in securing contracts. This program not only fosters economic growth among veteran entrepreneurs but also embodies a gesture of appreciation for their service. 

National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)

NaVOBA is an independent nonprofit organization governed and led by Corporate America. NaVOBA’s mission is to create corporate contracting opportunities for America’s Veteran’s and Service-Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprises (VBEs/SDVBEs) through certification, advocacy, outreach, recognition, and education.

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Veteran-Owned Business Directory

The Veteran Owned Business project is a comprehensive, user-friendly member network directory of small, medium, and large businesses owned by veterans, service disabled veterans (SDVOSBs/DVBEs), active duty military, reservists, and military spouses released on Veteran’s Day 2008. Veterans can also find a number of great resources for starting a business here.

American Corporate Partners (ACP) Mentoring Program

ACP’s free Mentoring Program connects post-9/11 veterans (Proteges) with corporate professionals (Mentors) for customized mentorships. ACP assists veterans on their path towards fulfilling, long-term careers, whether the veteran is job searching or newly employed. Typical mentorship goals include:

  • Resume review and interview preparation.
  • Career exploration and understanding job opportunities.
  • Career advancement, once a career is obtained.
  • Work-life balance, networking, and small business development advice.
  • Leadership and professional communication tips.

North Dakota Resources

North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (NDOVA)

The NDOVA’s mission is to assist veterans of North Dakota and their dependents in obtaining all benefits to which they’re entitled, both federal and state, either by direct contact or through the assistance of County Veterans Service Officers, Tribal Veterans Service Officers, or Nation Service Officers.

North Dakota Small Business Development Centers (ND SBDC)

The ND SBDC extends its expertise through training workshops, some of which are specially tailored for veterans, acknowledging the unique experiences they bring to the entrepreneurial table. These workshops cover a broad spectrum of business topics, offering veterans an opportunity to refine their skills and gain insights into the commercial sphere. With a blend of personalized advising and tailored training, the ND SBDC not only fosters a nurturing environment for business growth but also pays homage to the veteran community by providing resources that cater to their distinct needs.

North Dakota Society for Human Resource Management State Council (ND SHRM) Veteran at Work Certificate

The SHRM Foundation’s Veterans at Work Certificate, developed for HR professionals, hiring managers, and frontline supervisors, is a multi-faceted program from the SHRM Foundation. Through this certificate program, you will:

  • Learn the value that skilled veterans bring to the civilian workplace.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to attract, hire, and retain these talented professionals.
  • Earn 10 professional development credits toward your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP recertification.

Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber’s Military Affairs committee is on a mission to foster a community of support for the men and women of our military and the missions they carry out on our behalf. With a total economic impact to the region of more than $100 million and the most reliable arsenal we have to fight annual floods and preserve the freedom we love, the vital role of the military in our region is undeniable. To recognize these courageous individuals, the committee will plan activities to raise awareness in the community for the work that they do and provide opportunities for the community to thank them for their outstanding accomplishments.

Vet Centers (Fargo & Bismarck)

Vet Centers are the people in Veteran Affairs who welcome home war veterans with honor by providing quality readjustment counseling in a caring manner. Vet Centers understand and appreciate Veterans’ war experiences while assisting them and their family members toward a successful post-service adjustment in or near their community. Some of their services include:

  • Individuals and group counseling for Veterans and their families.
  • Family counseling for military-related issues.
  • Bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.
  • Military sexual trauma counseling and referral.
  • Outreach and education, including Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA), community events, and more.
  • Substance abuse assessment and referral.
  • Employment reassessment and referral.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) benefits explanation and referral.
  • Screening and referral for medical issues, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), depression, and more.

Networking and Support Organizations

Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is a one-stop-shop for service members, veterans, and military spouses looking to start, purchase, or grow a business. Located nationwide, VBOCs provide training workshops, including Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot programs, as well as business development assistance such as training, advising and mentoring, and resource referrals. The VBOC of The Dakotas provides no-cost business advising:

  • Business ownership options
  • Start-up logistics
  • Business plan development
  • Budgeting and financial projections
  • Financing your business venture
  • Operating challenges

Legal and Tax Resources

TurboTax for Military and Veterans

TurboTax has crafted a specialized tax preparation software designed exclusively to cater to the distinct financial scenarios encountered by military members and veterans. This tailor-made software alleviates the tax filing process by addressing the specific tax situations inherent to military life, whether it’s accounting for deployment income, housing allowances, or combat pay exclusions.

The software has features that ensure maximum returns, guiding users through deductions and credits uniquely available to military families, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or deductions related to relocation, uniforms, and reservist travel. Additionally, TurboTax offers an intuitive interface along with expert guidance, ensuring that users can effortlessly navigate through the tax filing process, making the most out of their military benefits. The software also continually updates to reflect the latest tax laws, ensuring compliance and the utmost accuracy in tax filing.

Furthermore, to demonstrate gratitude towards those who have served, TurboTax often provides discounted or complimentary access to this specialized software for eligible military personnel and veterans. This gesture not only underscores TurboTax’s commitment to supporting our troops but also eases the financial burden often associated with tax preparation.

From specialized financing options to mentorship programs, and even business networking groups tailored for veterans, there’s a wealth of opportunities waiting to be tapped into. Keep in mind that while this list is comprehensive, it’s by no means exhaustive. We encourage you to connect with local veteran organizations and chambers of commerce for even more tailored support. Your skills, discipline, and dedication honed during service can be tremendous assets in the world of business. Wishing you all the best in your entrepreneurial journey and always remember, North Dakota is behind you every step of the way!