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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Veterans Business Outreach Center Repeat Winner of Small Business Admininstration Support

The Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center (HRVBOC), created at Old Dominion University in 2010 as a full-service support center for veteran entrepreneurs, is a repeat winner of a support grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA funding, announced April 13, provides a total of $3.8 million for 14 veteran business outreach centers located around the country.

The funding will enable each center to counsel, train and provide assistance as well as comprehensive business assessment and mentoring to veteran and service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs, in addition to National Guard, reserve and transitioning service members interested in starting or expanding a small business.

Old Dominion's HRVBOC, which serves veteran entrepreneurs in a handful of Mid-Atlantic states, was one of only nine centers across the country to have its SBA funding renewed.

"We are thrilled to be selected and to have the opportunity to continue to serve our special client base, as well as to deliver new and innovative program offerings as we strive to provide those we serve with the best possible service, while also contributing to the University and the Center for Enterprise Innovation," said Cherylynn Sagester, director of the HRVBOC. "Thank you to everyone connected to the Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center who worked to make this award possible."

Marty Kaszubowski, executive director of Old Dominion's Center for Enterprise Innovation, said the University is proud of the work done by Sagester and the HRVBOC staff.

"We are gratified that the SBA has again recognized the value Old Dominion University's team offers to this important national program," he said. "The HRVBOC is a vital part of the Center for Enterprise Innovation, and will continue to grow and expand this important suite of services to support the large, talented veteran workforce, in the community and at Old Dominion."

A key responsibility of the VBOCs is to support transitioning service members as they embark on post-military service careers that often include small business ownership and other forms of self-employment.

Since opening its doors in 2010, Old Dominion's HRVBOC has helped launch 120 veteran-owned businesses, creating 400 jobs and encouraging $10 million in investment. It currently has more than 700 active clients.

At a visit in March, Gov. Terry McAuliffe remarked about the wisdom of harnessing the power of veteran entrepreneurs. "Entrepreneurs are the crux of our new economy, and veterans bring a skill set, a maturity, a desire to get the job done right," he said.

The nationwide SBA competition for veterans business outreach center funding was open to all eligible institutions of higher learning, private organizations or businesses, veterans' nonprofit community-based organizations, state, local or tribal governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. Each award is made for a base project period of 12 months, with up to two renewal option periods of 12 months each.

A portion of the funding will be used to cover costs associated with coordinating, delivering and conducting outreach to increase participation in the entrepreneurship track of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Transition Assistance Program (TAP), known as Boots to Business, on military installations in the continental United States and its territories. VBOCs are directed by the Small Business Act to participate in the DOD's Transition Assistance Program.

Each year the SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists start and grow their small businesses. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

The Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center can be reached at 757-683-5505 or through the HRVBOC website.