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Free program assists veterans with starting a business

Area veterans looking to start a business now have an ally on their side, in the form of a new program courtesy of the Nevada Small Business Development Center.

The program, called “Boots to Business Reboot,” is described as a free entrepreneurial education program offered to Nevada veterans by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in partnership with the Nevada Small Business Development Center.

The curriculum provides assistance to all military veterans who may be evaluating self-employment opportunities.

Business Counselor Allan Parker is one of two veterans presenting the program in Pahrump.

He said the new Boots to Business Reboot program is also being rolled out nationally for veterans and their spouses who might have an interest in going into business for themselves.

“We will be talking to them about the fact that they picked up quite a few skills while serving in the military, which would be applicable to going into a business of some type,” he said. “We give them some indication of various businesses that had been started by veterans in the past, and we tell them some of the things they have to think about when going forward.”

One important aspect Parker mentioned was whether the prospective business owner can provide a service that’s valuable to the community.

“We have a lot of assessment tools and we talk about the fact that they have to try to marry an interest with a market need,” he said. “They might have an interest in something, but if there aren’t prospects out there, who would be interested in what you are going to sell, or produce? One of the aspects we talk about is market research to make sure what you want to offer by way of a product is a need in the community.”

Roughly eight basic topics will be discussed from introduction to business ownership, to financing the venture, and market research.

“We talk to them about some of the initial steps of organization, where you have to have a legal structure,” he said. “You can be a self-proprietorship or an LLC. We also talk to them about the need for planning. Once you do a business plan, we talk to them about the fact that there are lots of resources that are available to help start businesses such as chambers of commerce, small business development centers or the Small Business Administration. We tell him about the fact that financing might be necessary in some cases.”

Boots to Business Reboot is a two-step program.

Step one is a full-day training event providing veterans with an overview of business ownership as a career vocation.

Parker said the second step takes the veteran even further into the world of starting a business, by way of a free eight-week online Foundations of Entrepreneurship course.

“Step two is where they actually have the opportunity to take an eight-week program which goes into much more depth of the nuts and bolts of actually starting a business,” he said. “This entire program is all free. All they need to do is register and sign up for it and we can go forward from there. We are conducting this in Las Vegas, Henderson, Laughlin, and of course Pahrump.”

Parker urged interested veterans to “strike while the iron is hot,” as the economy is showing positive signs of improvement in the last few years.

He noted there are some indications from the Economic Development Authority that there are businesses who are looking at Pahrump and Nye County as possibly places to start businesses or relocate businesses into.

“Pahrump and all of Nevada is finally coming out of the deep dark days five to six years ago, and we are coming back,” he said. “We see signs of life and a good indication is the fact that home sales have picked up and home prices are increasing in value. We are coming into 2016 with cautious optimism.”

Additionally, Parker said veterans should also take time to think about exactly what they want their business model to be prior to embarking on such a venture.

“A lot of times, when veterans leave the military, they have a lot of ideas that they have thought about from their military service,” he said. “We ask if they have a business idea and whether it’s something they think would be of value to the community. They may not necessarily want to just go to work for another employer, but go into business for themselves.”

During the class, Parker will be joined by former Marine Hank Pinto, who has served as a business counselor at Small Business Development Centers in Arizona and Nevada, assisting new and seasoned entrepreneurs with business start-up, planning, budgeting and forecasting.

Parker’s background in corporate America includes management positions in sales, marketing, finance and business operations. He is presently the business development advisor for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, providing technical expertise and training assistance to small businesses, and director for the Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority, where he serves as president.

The Boots to Business Reboot class is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the second floor of the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce building at 1301 S. Highway 160.

Those interested can reserve a spot at (775) 784-1717. Additional information can be located online at www.nsbdc.org.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com.

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