Episode Show Notes:
Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.
In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom, Jodi, and guest Mitch Fitzpatrick, Director of Training and Outreach at VetBiz, discuss how they help veterans and military spouses start or grow their veteran owned business, the resources available, and benefits of being involved in the military community.
“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.
Ep. 28 — VetBiz with Mitch Fitzpatrick
Jodi introduces Mitch, going over his military history, before introducing VetBiz.
- Mitch is the Director of Training and Outreach for VetBiz, which is a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans and military families achieve their dream of owning a business by transitioning military skills to business success.
- The goal of VetBiz is to strengthen communities by building strong veteran small businesses.
- Mitch connects veterans, military spouses, and active military members with business resources.
VetBiz Helps Veterans and Military Spouses
Jodi notes that Armed Forces Bank also aims to help veteran owned businesses be successful, and asks Mitch to go into more detail about VetBiz.
Jodi follows up by asking what the distribution is between veterans, military spouses, and other groups that they serve.
- Mitch says that a large part are transitioning service members, describing how Boots to Business Program.
- He says that they are at the forefront with VBOCs including military spouses, and that they make up about 30% of who they serve, with the other 70% being military and veterans.
- Mitch says that the Boots to Business is typically held on military installations over two days, and the refresher Reboot Training is one day that is held online.
How to Start Your Veteran Owned Business
Tom asks Mitch to walk through the steps of how a veteran would begin starting their own business.
- Mitch walks through a couple of their touchpoints, and how they meet with individual veterans to get them the right resources.
- Tom follows this up by asking what the biggest fear is for a veteran or military spouse that might be starting a business.
- Mitch says it is likely imposter syndrome, but he helps them by getting them to recognize the soft skills they already have from their time in the military.
- Tom notes that part of getting a small business loan is getting approved for credit, and how their military background can help with credibility.
Jodi understands how difficult it is for transitioning military members, and asks how important VetBiz or an organization they might refer them to are to that community during that time.
- Mitch runs through statistics of military wanting to start businesses, and current military owned businesses compared to their demographics.
- He says that they help bridge that gap to give them the training and strategy to start their own businesses.
- After Tom chimes in with statistics, Mitch continues noting that just being a veteran does not guarantee a successful business.
Veteran Business Help and Support
Tom asks Mitch how his military experience helps him walk in the footsteps of those looking for assistance.
- Mitch reiterates the importance of the soft skills that people develop in the military.
- He goes through how his time serving has molded his mindset, and how he uses that when helping other veterans.
- After prompting from Jodi, Mitch discusses the importance of some of their training compared to the increasing other number of resources that are available for veterans.
Tom asks how Mitch has seen communities be strengthened by the growth of veteran owned small businesses.
- Mitch notes that service is at the heart of what they do, which is why they often hire other veterans, as they have the same heart.
- He runs through the reasoning on why small businesses are the lifeblood of communities.
- Jodi says that Armed Forces Bank retail locations are proud to be staffed by 85% veterans, military spouses, or dependents.
Veteran Transferrable Skills to Workforce
Jodi asks what are the most transferrable skills that Mitch sees when working with veterans.
- Mitch goes back to the soft skills that are developed during their time serving in the military.
- He then runs through some examples of how he helps those transitioning veterans understand and relate those skills to entrepreneurship.
Tom talks about some of the testimonials VetBiz has received over the years, and asks Mitch for some of his favorite stories of people that have gone through the program.
- Mitch discusses the different stages that they can help clients, from starting the businesses to growing the business.
- He then gives examples of some of his favorite stories from previous clients.
- Mitch also explains the importance of their training such as VetBiz Activate, and how it helped a previous client.
After further questioning from Tom, he runs through the difference between VetBiz and vetbiz.va.gov
- Tom runs through the area that VetBiz can help people, which Mitch adds to and includes the Saint Louis Metro Area including Scott Airforce Base.
- He notes that if someone from outside their area contacts them, they will let them go through the training and then connect them with the VBOC in their area to find more veteran business services.
- After prompting from Tom, Mitch talks about upcoming VetBiz events.
- He wraps up by encouraging veterans and military spouses to reach out to their SBA to get connected to the resources they need to get their business up and running.
Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.
- Last episode’s Military Minute: What was initially supposed to be Luke Skywalker’s last name in the original script for Star Wars: A New Hope, that eventually was used as the name for a military base?
- Answer: Starkiller
- This week’s Military Minute question: Which President made more money playing poker during his Navy days than he did from his military paychecks?
- Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
- Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to www.afbank.com and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.