LBCC’s Veteran Business Outreach Center is expanding its services thanks to state funding

The Veterans Business Research Center provides assistance with loan and grant applications, business development training, government procurement, and more. suggest.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, many small business owners struggle to make their dreams a reality, with a staggering 45% failure rate within the first five years. The Veterans Employment Center at Long Beach City College is committed to making sure local veterans are not part of this failure rate.

The Veterans Business Research Center, in partnership with and through Long Beach City College (LBCC), has received a $100,000 state grant to expand its services in the six counties it serves.

In May, the center began helping veterans and their spouses from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties get their small businesses off the ground or take them to the next level.

Office business plan development, business strategy and development, training programs, assistance with loan and grant applications, etc. offers a wide range of services. Initial funding of $375,000 to operate the LBCC office was from the United States Small Business Administration and will be renewed annually through 2028.

The U.S. funds about 28 similar offices across the country, often serving communities too large to reach everyone in need. To meet the growing need, the US Small Business Administration announced funding available for qualified applicants and LBCC was selected to host the program.

The Pullias Center at Long Beach City College and the USC Rossier School of Education has received a nearly $1 million federal grant to promote higher education for gang youth. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

LBCC’s office is only the third of its kind in California, along with offices in San Diego and Humboldt, and has served 90 veterans through one-on-one sessions since May.

According to the US Census, by 2021, how many veterans live in the six countries covered by the LBCC Veterans Employment Center:

  • Los Angeles County: 242,668
  • Orange County: 99,720
  • Riverside Country: 114,259
  • San Bernardino County: 86,686
  • Santa Barbara County: 19,061
  • Ventura County: 36,784

In addition to one-on-one training, the center makes a point of visiting every military base in its service area and holds regular workshops in surrounding communities.

Pat Nye directs the Veterans Business Research Center at LBCC, along with the college’s two other economic development programs that help small businesses. The Veterans Business Research Center is the only center dedicated to helping veterans and their spouses.

Members of the Lakewood High School Marine JROTC color guard present the colors during the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance during the Long Beach Veterans Day celebration Nov. 12, 2022 at Houghton Park. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune) )

As a veteran of the Coast Guard, Nye said, “I’m proud to help the people I served with.”

“It’s really important to do this for veterans as well, who often don’t think about the services that are available,” Nye said.

Nye said the most important service the Veterans Business Research Center offers is loan and grant assistance, in addition to helping entrepreneurs obtain government procurement.

Federal, state and local governments all set aside certain amounts of money to help small businesses, Nye said, which is a “shortfall” to spend all available funding. That’s because most businesses aren’t “positioned” to get those government contracts, Nye said.

“You have to really work to position your work in a certain way to take advantage of it,” Nye said.

The Veterans Business Research Center helps businesses qualify for these contracts by meeting certain requirements and obtaining certifications to apply. The office also helps spouses of veterans, as many of them relocate frequently and are unable to maintain a traditional job.

Services offered by the Veterans Employment Center are free, and residents can call 844-595-8262 to find out if they qualify.

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