Veterans Business Outreach Center sponsoring first symposium/resource fair
The Veterans Business Outreach Center at The University of Texas at Arlington is sponsoring its first Veterans Business Symposium and Resource Fair 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, in the College of Business Building, 701 S. West St.
The symposium and fair features a free keynote lunch with veteran entrepreneurs and HGTV’s Ashley and Andy Williams, new stars of “Flip of Flop Fort Worth.”
“We want to show other veterans and their families that it’s possible to transition, add value in your community, create an impact and make an honest living,” the couple says on their website. Ashley and Andy are Iraqi War veterans and will relay their path from military life to business owners.
The event, which is being co-promoted by The Potter’s House Military Veterans Ministry, is open to all veterans, disabled veterans, National Guard and reserve component members, and spouses.
Patrick E. Alcorn, director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center, said veterans can access a full day of entrepreneurial content at the symposium and fair. The UTA VBOC is only one of two in Texas and one of 20 in the United States.
The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $500,0000 in funding in 2016 for the UTA College of Business Veterans Business Outreach Center to offer educational, training and consulting services to veterans who are starting or growing a business in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
“We are delivering small business resources to empower prospective and existing veteran-owned small businesses,” Alcorn said. “We connect veterans who could soon open their own business or franchise to the network of resources available to start or grow a business beyond the battlefield.”
Resource partners at the event include the U.S. Small Business Administration, mentors from SCORE or Service Corps of Retired Executives, Small Business Development Center advisers, Procurement Technical Assistance Center counselors, SBA approved lenders and more.
Some of the exhibitors and vendors lending assistance include: VetFran, FranNet, 7-Eleven, Veterans Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Texas Veterans Commission, Women Veterans’ Enterprise Center, Texas Workforce Commission, PeopleFund, Accion, LiftFund, city of Dallas, city of Arlington, Alliance Lending, Veteran Franchise Center, Legacy Bank, TMAC and Momentum Texas.
Alcorn said the number of agencies and companies attending the event will help serve as a one-stop shop for veterans looking to take that next step in the business world.
“The strength of the event, though, is the networking that takes place between veterans and representatives from these organizations and companies, as well as among the veterans themselves,” Alcorn said. “Veterans learn that even though they’ve left the military, they can leverage the veteran business network to build a new life and a business beyond the battlefield. In sharing their experiences and best business practices, they learn from each other.”