This year, ENR magazine’s prestigious Award of Excellence went to HT Tran, a 35-year-old Iraq war veteran and advocate for hiring those who’ve served in the military. According to the ENR article, Tran was severely wounded in Iraq but moved on to cofound and now run Anvil Builders Inc., a fast-growing San Francisco-based construction firm.
Tran’s journey from Iraq soldier to successful construction business owner is an inspiring one. Like many vets he has faced numerous challenges, yet persevered with a new mission at hand.
Tran’s interest in starting his own business is not unusual among those who have served in the military. In 2012, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported 2.4 million U.S. businesses were run by veterans, not surprising given the leadership and teamwork skills they learn in the military.
For military vets who have or want to start a construction firm or other business, there are services that can help, including:
- Veterans Business Outreach Program (VBOP): This program provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals.
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL): This program is for servicemen and women who already operated a small business before being called to duty. Through the SBA, the program gives companies loans to pay for operating expenses while an essential employee is serving active duty.
- Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP): Offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, VEP provides resources including how to start a business, access financing, grow your business, and find government contract opportunities.
These are some of the main programs designed specifically to assist veterans who want to become entrepreneurs.