February 02, 2022

Duckworth, Ernst Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Preserve Small Business Education Training for Servicemembers, Veterans and Military Spouses


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced the bipartisan Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act, legislation that would codify the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) “Boots to Business” (B2B) program into law for five years. The B2B program is an entrepreneurship education and training program for servicemembers, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve Members and military spouses transitioning from military service to civilian life. Codifying this program into law would preserve this critical service for years to come by preventing the possibility of future budget cuts or program deactivation. Companion legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) and Roger Williams (R-TX-25) passed the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2021.

“For more than five years, the Boots to Business program has helped transitioning servicemembers, Veterans and their spouses develop critical business development and entrepreneurship skills,” said Duckworth. “This skill development helps individuals build successful small businesses of their own and excel in civilian careers after leaving military service, and I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Ernst that will help ensure the longevity of this critical program.”

“Our servicemembers and their families sacrifice so much to protect and defend our nation, and when they transition out of the day-to-day military life, it’s important they have the support to succeed,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The ‘Boots to Business’ initiative is an excellent resource that equips our servicemembers with the training and tools necessary to enter the civilian business world. I’m excited to partner with my colleague, and fellow veteran, Senator Duckworth on this effort to support our veterans and their families.”

The SBA offers the B2B program through the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Transition Assistance Program, and it is primarily a two-day, in-person course offered at approximately 180 installations that provides an introductory understanding of small business ownership. As part of the program, individuals learn to develop business plans, identify sources of capital and navigate new business and contracting opportunities. After completing the initial two-day course, participants have the option to continue their business learning through an eight-week, online course led by professors from accredited universities.

The B2B program was first launched by SBA in 2014, and has since boosted the career trajectories of tens of thousands of servicemembers and their spouses. In 2020 alone, more than 21,000 individuals completed the course.

If you are interested in participating in the B2B program at SBA, eligible individuals can begin the process of signing up for classes here, and the program brochure can be found here.