The University of Maryland has been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to launch the Mid-Atlantic Veterans Business Outreach Center. Located in College Park, the center will serve as a regional epicenter for training, consulting and technical assistance for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs and veteran-owned small businesses.
The center, led by UMD Chief Innovation Officer Julie Lenzer, will collaborate with the SBA and existing partners including the Small Business Development Center, the nonprofit SCORE (formerly known as Service Corps of Retired Executives) and Women’s Business Center networks to deliver a comprehensive array of resources and services.
UMD will bring together partners from the University System of Maryland, institutional collaborators in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and a broad range of organizations focused on economic development to facilitate and support opportunities for members of the military community, including veterans, active-duty personnel, reservists, National Guard members, and military spouses and survivors.
“With our strong track record of success in administration of previous SBA resource programs, the University of Maryland is well-positioned, both geographically and organizationally, to successfully implement the new center and deliver the highest-quality services to veterans,” said Lenzer, the project’s principal investigator.
A 2017 SBA report found 237,655 veteran-owned businesses and a total veteran population of 2,077,810 across the mid-Atlantic. UMD anticipates that the center will have significant impacts on the local, state and regional economies, including increasing the number of veteran-owned small businesses, veteran clients served and total jobs supported.
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