January 24, 2023

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


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced her bipartisan Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act of 2023, which would codify the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) “Boots to Business” (B2B) program into law through 2028. The B2B program is an entrepreneurship education and training program for servicemembers, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve Members as well as military spouses transitioning from military service to civilian life. Codifying this program into law would build on the proven success of this critical initiative by preserving the program for years to come and preventing the possibility of future budget cuts or program deactivation.

“The first action I’m taking this Congress is to support our Veterans and their spouses in developing critical business development and entrepreneurship skills by re-introducing my Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act of 2023,” said Duckworth. “The Boots to Business program helps individuals start successful small businesses—which keeps local economies flourishing across the country—and helps them build strong careers long after hanging up their uniform. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that would help ensure the longevity of this critical program and I hope we can get this signed into law.”

Duckworth first introduced this legislation in February 2022 and it was successfully passed out of the Senate Small Business Committee in May 2022 on a bipartisan basis. In November 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a House companion measure—introduced by U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) and Roger Williams (R-TX-25)—by a vote of 418 to 2.

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. 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.

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.

This legislation has been endorsed by the American Legion. A copy of the bill-one pager can be found here.