Helping Veteran Entrepreneurs Realize their Dreams

tx_edwardwaldeenashford_001Citi, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University and the Accion U.S. Network have teamed up to support aspiring small business owners participating in the Citi SalutesSM: Realizing Your Dream program for veteran entrepreneurs.

Of the more than 2,500 veterans who have graduated from an IVMF entrepreneurship-training program, on average 55% have started businesses and close to 80% of those businesses have survived beyond four years. However, for those who have not yet started a business, the reason most commonly cited is difficulty in accessing capital. With an estimated one million servicemembers leaving active-duty service in the coming years, and with 20 percent expected to start their own business, the need for start-up and sustaining capital is critical.

Now, graduates of V-WISE and Boots to Business, both joint initiatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will be able to directly interact with Accion through a dedicated web portal that will go live in 2014 and begin the process of securing financing.

In addition to loan applications, IVMF graduates across the country will be able to access local workshops and networking events, connect with other program graduates, and serve as resources to fellow veterans and their families seeking to build small businesses as pathways to long-term financial security.

“Accion is proud to join the Realizing Your Dream team,” said CEO Gina Harman. “Working with Citi and the IVMF provides us a great opportunity to help deserving veterans and their families by providing capital to grow or start a business. Accion works with veterans all across the nation, but through this partnership, we will be available to those who graduate the Boots to Business program and are in need of capital.”

In partnership with Citi Community Development and with funding from the Citi Foundation, the Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream program is a part of the firm-wide Citi Salutes initiative to support veteran consumers and job-seekers by connecting them to Citi’s entire range of services geared to the veteran community, including career development opportunities, banking products and services developed to meet the unique needs of military families, and partnerships with leading veterans service organizations.

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