How do I pronounce the shorthand version of the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)?
It is most commonly pronounced Vee-Bok at W-B-D-C.

Who does the VBOC@WBDC serve?
The VBOC@WBDC serves:

  • Veterans
  • Active Duty Military
  • Guard
  • Reserve
  • Military Spouses
  • Family Members (over the age of 18)
    who are interested in starting a small business or growing an existing business.

Does the VBOC@WBDC have a specific service area?
Yes, we serve Region V: Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We can also connect you with any of the other 19 VBOCs across the US and territories.

How do I start working with the VBOC?
Visit www.vbocwbdc.org to register for VBOC services.  A staff member will contact you to schedule your first appointment.

Can I register for services prior to relocation?
Yes, you can register for services prior to relocation to any of the three states (IL, WI, and MN) that the VBOC@WBDC serves.

Does the VBOC@WBDC only serve women veterans?
No, the VBOC@WBDC serves all interested service members, veterans and family members. The VBOC is hosted at the Women’s Business Development Center, which has several different resources and programs that the interested individual can be referred to, if appropriate.

I live far away from Chicago.  Can I still work with the VBOC@WBDC?
Yes.  In addition to in-person counseling sessions (held in Chicago or remotely), the VBOC can work with you by phone.  In fact, when you register you have the option to do your session by phone or Skype if you are not within commuting distance.  Counseling sessions can also be arranged face-to-face in your state depending on the VBOC staff’s travel schedules.

Can my spouse or family member work with the VBOC@WBDC?
Yes. All family members of a veteran are welcome to utilize the services of the VBOC. It is the responsibility of the individual to acknowledge their affiliation to the service member/veteran.

Is there a charge for services at the VBOC@WBDC?
VBOC@WBDC services are provided at no cost. However, special programming is available at the VBOC@WBDC host headquarters that may offer additional workshops and trainings at a significant military discount.

I already own a business.  How can the VBOC@WBDC assist me?
The VBOC@WBDC can assist you in developing your strategy for growth, analyzing/optimizing your current operations, exploring financing options, executive coaching, etc.  We can also refer you to our network of Resource Partners.

What if I just have an idea that I’d like to discuss?
We welcome the opportunity to listen to your business idea!  We can assist you in evaluating the idea with the development of a business plan and cash flow projections.

How long can I work with the VBOC?
We will work with you as long as you are working on your business.  If you sit down, we sit down.  When you start back in, we start back in with you.

Are my counseling sessions confidential?
All VBOC counseling sessions are treated as confidential.

 Does the VBOC@WBDC lend money?
The VBOC does not lend money, but can advise you on various financials options and channels.  For instance the host site has an Access to Capital program that may benefit local veterans/service members if they qualify.  We provide information on the SBA loan programs as well.  We can also provide referrals for additional assistance or education. Occasionally, we will notify you of any grant competitions/opportunities that could assist you in your business.

Is the VBOC@WBDC part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?
No, the VBOC@WBDC is not a part of the VA system.  While we support efforts made by our community network regarding outreach to military and veterans, we have a specific focus on economic development.

Does the VBOC@WBDC do Certification?
The VBOC@WBDC is not an official certifying body for those seeking to become Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE); Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB); Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB); Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE), etc.  We will assist those interested in obtaining certification by directing them to the appropriate channel, providing the correct application and explaining how to leverage such certification.  We will not complete the application on your behalf and require a written request for review of your application before you submit it, if you desire a second set of eyes.  We will only speak to the guidelines of the application and do not insert our personal opinions regarding your business’ pursuit of certification.

Does the VBOC@WBDC do Mentor-Protégé pairings?
No, the VBOC@WBDC does not offer client information for Mentor-Protégé pairings.  We can provide information on the most recent literature available to assist you in pursuing this as an option for your business.

How do I get certified as a Veteran-owned business?
Click here to learn more.