Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (09/15/2015)

Veterans Small Business Ownership Improvements Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Small Business Act to establish the Boots to Business Program under which the Small Business Administration (SBA) shall provide entrepreneurship training to:

  • members of the Armed Forces,
  • individuals participating in the Transition Assistance Program (Department of Defense),
  • individuals who served on active duty and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, and
  • their spouses or dependents.

The SBA shall also

  • establish a Women Veterans Business Training Program to provide specific training for female members of the Armed Forces, veterans, or their spouses or dependents who are interested in small business careers; and
  • compile and disseminate information on resources available to women veterans for business training.

The SBA shall in addition establish a Business Training Program for Service Disabled Veterans to provide specific training for service-disabled veterans interested in small business careers.

The SBA may make grants to veterans' business outreach centers and other entities, including other resource partners, to carry out components of these three Programs.

The SBA shall:

  • establish a veterans' business outreach center program to provide financial assistance to educational institutions, veterans' nonprofit community-based organizations, and federal, state, and local departments and agencies to conduct renewable five-year projects for the benefit of small businesses owned and controlled by veterans; and
  • designate at least one individual in each district office as a veterans business development officer to coordinate activities of the district office with recipient entities.

Financial assistance may be at least $100,000 for each fiscal year in the form of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, subject to requirements for specified project percentages of non-federal contributions.

An assisted entity shall establish or operate a veterans' business outreach center to provide veterans, service-disabled veterans, and reservists, as well as their spouses, and the spouses of active duty members of the Armed Forces with:

  • financial, management, and marketing advice and training; and
  • technical assistance and training for obtaining federal procurement opportunities.

An assisted entity shall also enter into an affiliation agreement with a small business development center to carry out activities under this Act.

A veterans' business outreach center may, with prior SBA approval, contract with a federal department or agency to provide specific assistance to veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, or the spouses of members of the Armed Forces on active duty.

The SBA may discontinue financial assistance to an entity at any time for poor performance.

The SBA shall designate at least one individual in each SBA district office as a veterans business development officer to communicate and coordinate district office activities with entities receiving financial assistance under this Act.

The SBA shall establish the Veterans Business Owners Initiative Pilot Program to provide grants to nonprofit entities to carry out peer support groups that provide small business career training to:

  • members of the Armed Forces,
  • individuals participating in the Transition Assistance Program (Department of Defense),
  • Reservists,
  • veterans, and
  • their spouses or dependents.

The SBA shall establish an online mechanism to assist veterans' assistance providers carry out their activities.

FY2016-FY2020 appropriations are authorized for programs under this Act.

(Sec. 3) The SBA shall establish: (1) guidelines to improve the network of peer-to-peer counseling for individuals eligible for a veterans' entrepreneurial development program, and (2) an online mechanism that serves as a one-stop online resource for veterans regarding SBA entrepreneurial development programs.

(Sec. 4) The SBA shall report to Congress at least once a year regarding: (1) appointments and activities of the interagency veterans small business task force, and (2) outreach and promotion of the programs authorized by this Act.

(Sec. 5) The SBA's duties are expanded to include making grants to, or entering into cooperative agreements with, nonprofit entities to operate federal contracting training programs for veteran-owned small businesses.