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Isabella Casilla Guzman, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, speaks at press conference alongside Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, March 31 at Fort Hood, Texas. Guzman and Williams spoke on the success and importance of the Boots to Business program at Fort Hood, an entrepreneurial and education program for transitioning service members, veterans and spouses to learn an overview of business ownership. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

By Samantha Harms
Fort Hood Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas —Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25), chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, met with current students and service members of the Boots to Business program March 31 here.

“The SBA that’s focused on the American dream of business ownership wants to make sure that that’­s accessible to all, especially our military service members,” Guzman said during a press conference at ­Fort Hood. “Our Boots to Business program is one of the great examples of how we can transition these great service men and women to a life of entrepreneurship.”

B2B is an entrepreneurial education and training program, offered by SBA and Fort Hood’s Transition Assistance Program. Participants, including transitioning service members, veterans and their spouses, are afforded the opportunity to learn an overview of business ownership.

This program began in 2013 and was created to provide basic knowledge for those interested in exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities, including receiving the technical assistance they need to figure out how to launch their business.

“The Army in particular has a strong representation within our Boots to Business program,” Guzman said. “So, we’re glad to be here to make sure that we emphasize how important it is that many of them take this next step and jump into entrepreneurship if that’s their dream and in their pathway. And that there are tools and resources to help them get there, either immediately or along the way as they build toward developing their business plan and financing it.”

The administrator emphasized that this program is available to any servicemember or veteran who is willing to take the risk to gain the reward of owning their own business.

“It’s really important that we continue across the country to support our veterans,” she said. “And (Fort Hood) is just one of the shining examples of a military installation that’s committed to making sure that there are pathways in transition that are meaningful to the military service members.”

Congressman Williams agreed.

“Fort Hood has a reputation of supplying the workforce as we’ve got it,” Williams pointed out during the same press conference. “Because that’s the Great Place, right? You got to come to the Great Place. So, we’re glad (the SBA team) chose to come here and showcase the great things that we have going at Fort Hood and the manpower we have (here).”

Guzman and Williams had the opportunity to participate in the B2B foundational course.

The course, “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” is a two-day in-person program and is facilitated by subject-matter experts from the SBA and a network of business advisors. Participants are introduced to the skills, knowledge and available resources they need to launch a business. This includes steps for developing business concepts, how to develop a business plan and information on SBA resources available to help.

Fort Hood’s TAP division chief said he aims to offer as many opportunities as possible for transitioning Soldiers and their families.

“The biggest thing is that this program gives the servicemembers the opportunity to be their own vehicles,” expressed Mark Phillips, Fort Hood’s TAP division chief.

Phillips explained that Soldiers in this program receive instruction from start to finish on whatever area they want.

He said no matter if they already have a market plan or business or even if they haven’t decided if they want to manage a business, it is a great opportunity for service members to explore the concept of owning their own business.

Having a visitation from the SBA committee chairman here shows what Washington D.C. is actually doing to promote, advance and educate the service member, the TAP division chief explained.

During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Guzman explained just how large the group of armed services business owners is.

“Nationwide, over 180,000 members of the armed service have gone through this incredible program,” Guzman said. “Our veterans are large contributors to our economy, creating jobs as so many of our entrepreneurs out there, over two million veteran businesses around the country in all industries. We want to make sure, obviously we continue to serve them and level up and adapt to the marketplace just like they’ve had to in the last few years and continuously provide these programs and the capital that they need to launch, survive and thrive into the future.”

Williams pointed out that more than half the nation’s revenue comes from small business.

“Half payroll, half the workforce is generated by small business in this country,” Williams shared. “That’s why it’s so important we keep filling the supply so we don’t run out. … These people are willing to take risk if they can get reward. And that’s what America is about. That’s the greatness of our country.”

Broll from the press conference.

Photos from the visit.

Administrator Isabella Casilla Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration, laughs with Tracey Brown Green, state of Texas Military Order of the Purple Heart commander, and Willie Keller, CSM A.C Cotton, VFW Post 12209, commander, during lunch following the Boots to Business seminar March 31 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs)
Administrator Isabella Casilla Guzman, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, participates in the Boots to Business seminar March 31 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

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Covering Stories on Post

March 15, 2023 8:04:24 PM
1st Cavalry Division leadership identifies casualty

FORT HOOD, Texas – Sadly, the 1st Cavalry Division lost a Trooper March 13, Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, a combat engineer, who has served with the division for the past 15 months.

The Army Criminal Investigation Division and the chain of command are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding her death.

The chain of command is in contact with her family to keep them updated, receive any concerns, and provide them all releasable information. Additionally, the chain of command is also providing support and resources to her family and Troopers that served with her.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of PV2 Ana Basalduaruiz, and we extend our sympathies to her father, mother, and her sister,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander, 91st Engineer Battalion. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. She was an exceptional teammate that will truly be missed.”

As more information becomes available, it will be published on Forthoodpresscenter.com.

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