May 18, 2022

Duckworth’s Bipartisan Bill to Codify Boots to Business Program Passes Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee


[WASHINGTON, D.C.]—Today, the bipartisan Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship by voice vote and is now set to be considered by the full Senate. This legislation 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.

“Since its creation, the Boots to Business program has helped thousands of transitioning servicemembers, Veterans and their spouses learn and develop critical business development and entrepreneurial skills,” said Senator Duckworth. “This skill development helps individuals build successful small businesses—which keep local economies flourishing across the country—of their own and excel in civilian careers after leaving military service. I’m proud that this bipartisan legislation passed out of Committee and I hope the full Senate approves it swiftly.”

“Our servicemembers and their families sacrifice to defend and preserve our country, and for many, the years following their time in uniform can be difficult. We want to create ways to ease that transition back to civilian life by setting them up with opportunities that will allow them to succeed in not only the workforce, but in their day to day lives,” said Senator Ernst. “The ‘Boots-to-Business’ initiative is a program that grants our servicemembers with the training and tools necessary to enter the civilian business world and I’m pleased Democrats and Republicans worked together to move this forward.”

Duckworth and Ernst introduced the Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act in February of this year. 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.

The SBA offers this program through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program and consists of a two-day, in-person course that provides an introductory understanding of small business ownership with 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.