Legal Meets Practical: Accessible Solutions

SBA OIG: Boots to Business Program Needs Polish

The Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Boots to Business (“B2B”) program, established in 2014, is an entrepreneurial training program offered by the SBA as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. It provides transitioning service members interested in exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities with the information to develop business plans, and it also connects service members to SBA resources partners and start-up capital.

Just yesterday (July 19), the SBA’s Office of Inspector General released an audit report that examined: 1) the efficiency of the program; 2) its achievement of goals and objectives; and 3) recipients’ compliance with agreement requirements.

To complete the audit, the SBA selected three cooperative agreement recipients with awards totaling $6.7 million, then interviewed SBA program officials and recipients (referring to resource centers, not individual veterans), as well as conducted site visits and phone interviews (of both program resources and participants) and attended day courses run by the program.

In a nutshell, while the SBA noted improvements, it also found several areas where the B2B program could be improved: the SBA did not meet established performance goals for the number of participants or the graduation rate from the 8-week course; the SBA did not ensure that recipients measured and reported performance outcomes; and the SBA was unable to determine what one recipient spent on the B2B program or to assess the validity of reimbursement requests (resulting in the OIG finding $419,912 in unsupported questioned costs).

To correct these issues, the OIG made seven recommendations. While SBA management concurred with six of seven of them, its planned actions resolved only three out of the seven. For additional detail, access the report here. Further details and planned actions are sure to follow, which is exciting given the important purpose of this program. We need more resources like this for our veteran entrepreneurs!

For those of you who are small business owners (or prospective small business owners), consider attending a two-day B2B program on your military installation. These are open to all transitioning service members and their spouses. Although this is a fairly new program that still needs to have the kinks worked out, that doesn’t mean that YOU as a veteran business owner can’t take advantage of the resources it has to offer. Access more information and the schedule of courses here. You can also email the program at [email protected] or call 202-205-VET1 (202-205-8381).

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One Response to “SBA OIG: Boots to Business Program Needs Polish”

  1. Thanks for another great post, we appreciate your dedication to the cause!

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