How the Veteran Business Outreach Center has grown and supported veterans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — May marks one year of the Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC), operated by the Mt. Carmel Veteran Service Center, operating in Colorado Springs. The organization says it looks to help veteran businesses of all kinds grow, connect, and thrive in our area.

“This is a veteran-rich community, and there are a lot of businesses in Colorado that are veteran-owned, and we want to make sure they know resources are available,” said the Director of VBOC Kia Palmer. “Whether they’re in the startup phase or they have an idea that just needs assistance putting together in a business plan, or if they’ve been in business for years and now want to expand locations or venture into contracting, we can assist them with access to capital”.

Palmer says the VBOC has helped more than 450 business owners in Colorado since it started.

“We’ve got about three sign-ups a day now!” she happily exclaimed to me.

Coty Hansford says he’s spent years honing his dent-repairing skills.

“It’s actually a lot easier to damage the panel than it is to fix it,” he said to me while working on a dented hood. “You really can’t go back, once the damage is done”.

Hansford started his business, Hansford’s Hail and Dent Repair, with his father after leaving the military. He says their business has grown successful after developing relationships with customers and car dealerships.

“You know, it’s not easy to tell people you’re good at what you do. It’s a lot easier to hear from someone else,” he said.

When the business wanted to expand to a new shop, Hansford says he turned to the VBOC. They were able to help him develop a business plan and get connected with a lender to purchase the new space. Now, he’s encouraging other veteran business owners to take advantage of the help.

“With the resources that we got, you know, we’re like, wow, we can do a lot more than we initially thought. So essentially, we kind of are starting a new business, and it’s one of those things that if we would have started sooner, it just only could have been better,” Hansford said.

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