COLLEGE PARK, Md -- The University of Maryland has been awarded a 5-year, $2M grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to launch a new Mid-Atlantic Veterans Business Outreach Center in College Park, Md. The Center will provide resources and support to aspiring veteran entrepreneurs and veteran-owned small businesses, serving as a regional epicenter for training, consulting and technical assistance.
The new Center, led by Principal Investigator and Chief Innovation Officer Julie Lenzer, will collaborate with the SBA and existing resource partners including the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and Women’s Business Center networks throughout the region, to deliver a comprehensive array of services that will enable and empower veterans to explore entrepreneurship.
Located just a few miles from the nation’s capital, the University of Maryland will bring together partners from the University System of Maryland (USM), institutional collaborators in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., as well as a broad range of organizations throughout the economic development ecosystem, with a united mission to deliver programs, services and resources to veteran entrepreneurs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
“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 Center will facilitate and support opportunities for members of the military community, including veterans, active-duty personnel, reservists, National Guard members and military spouses and survivors to open, grow, and run successful businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The University of Maryland anticipates that the Center will have significantly positive impacts on the local, state and regional economies, including an increased number of new veteran-owned small businesses, veteran clients served and total jobs supported.
According to a 2017 report published by the SBA, the Mid-Atlantic region has a substantial number of veteran-owned firms that would benefit from the opportunity to receive services from the new Center. With a combined market of 237,655 existing veteran-owned businesses and a total veteran population of 2,077,810 across the Mid-Atlantic, there is great potential for the Center to have a significant impact on veteran entrepreneurs across the region.