Boots to Business: From Service to Startup


Boots to Business: From Service to Startup is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-sponsored, worldwide program offered as a component of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP) renamed Transition GPS. Boots to Business is offered by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University (SU) and operated by SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), in partnership with SBA resource partners. Boots to Business is a three-step training program developed to introduce and train transitioning service members to business ownership. Boots to Business helps ensure that every transitioning service member has access to a standardized entrepreneurship training track and small business resources in their local communities. After completing Boots to Business participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local small business resources, and launch their small business.


Active duty military members (and their partners/spouses) separating from service may elect to participate in the entrepreneurship training track of Boots to Business. This includes:

  • Transition GPS/The Entrepreneurship Track: All service members attending will gain exposure to entrepreneurship by viewing a 10-minute video.
  • Intensive 2-day/Intro to Entrepreneurship: During Transition GPS, if the service member elects to participate in a 2-day entrepreneurial class, taught by a SBA Representative/SBA Resource Partner at a local military installation. The class will educate participants on business fundamentals and guide them through an initial feasibility analysis of their business concept.
  • Foundations of Entrepreneurship Course: Upon completion of the Boots to Business optional “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” track, transitioning service members have the option to further study through an instructor-led 8-week online course offered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University. Completion of the 8-week online course will require approximately 10 hours of study each week and walk participants through the fundamentals of developing a business plan.

After completing Boots to Business, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, and launch their enterprise.HOW TO PARTICIPATE

To participate in the Boots to Business entrepreneurship track, the transitioning service member (or spouse/partner) should contact their on base TAP coordinator or reach out to a SBA district office*. Once participants complete the ‘Intro to Entrepreneurship’ and the ‘2-Day Intensive Workshop’, the instructor will provide a login and password to gain to access to register for the Foundations of Entrepreneurship.

* Contact information for SBA’s district offices can be found at under “Local Assistance.”


There are no registration fees or tuition for any portion of the Boots to Business entrepreneurship training track. All service members will receive textbooks and resources necessary to complete the program.


In August 2011, President Obama announced his comprehensive plan to address the issue of transitioning veterans finding meaningful employment opportunities in the civilian workforce. Specifically, the President directed the DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work closely with other Agencies, and with the President’s economic and domestic policy teams, in leading a task force that would develop a new training and service delivery model to help strengthen the transition of our Service Members from the military to civilian life. Shortly thereafter, Congress passed and the President signed the VOW Act to “Hire Heroes Act of 2011” Public Law 112-56, 201-265, 125 Stat. 715, which included steps to improve the existing TAP for Service Members. Among other things, the VOW Act made participation in several components of TAP mandatory for all Service Members (except in limited circumstances). The Boots to Business course is one of the three optional training tracks offered via TAP.