This Veterans Day, CEBN is highlighting resources available for veterans to get their start in clean energy or bolster their existing businesses. With recent federal investments through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, clean energy is a booming sector expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, making this an excellent time to pursue a career in clean energy! Veterans interested in pursuing this path can access job training programs, local business centers, and more.
What resources are available to those looking to work in clean energy?
The Department of Energy (DOE) has an easy-to-navigate portal that lists various career programs for veterans, including the following energy-specific programs:
The non-profit Get into Energy runs the Troops to Energy Jobs program, an initiative designed to help vets transition into a clean energy career. The organization also has a helpful job board that includes military-specific filters to help find opportunities most relevant to your skillset.
Where can I find resources for veteran-owned small businesses?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of resources available for veterans that own small businesses or are interested in entrepreneurship. This includes:
- Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) – offer business development workshops, mentorship, and training for eligible veterans across the country.
- Boots to Business – an entrepreneurial education and training program offered to Active Duty service members, veterans, and spouses.
- Veteran assistance programs – help participants tap into government contracting set-asides for vet-owned businesses, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business program, and the Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program.
What funding opportunities are available?
There are several ongoing opportunities available for veteran-owned clean energy businesses.
- Veterans Business Battle – the largest veteran-focused business plan competition in the country held annually by Rice University. The competition helps connect veteran entrepreneurs with investors, business resources, and networking opportunities. Registration is expected to open today on Veterans Day!
- The DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – offers up to $250k in non-dilutive grants for R&D in various clean energy technology sectors. Topics for the next round of funding were recently released.
- Other SBIR opportunities – 11 federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, release SBIR grants throughout the year. A summary of the agencies with programs can be found here.
- SBA’s loans program and lender matching program – provides vet-owned businesses access to capital.
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL) – provides loans of up to $2M to cover operating costs that cannot be met due to the loss of an essential employee called to active duty.
Learn more by exploring the other entries in our Insight into Federal Programs series, which features deep dives on existing programs that can help you build your business or organization. CEBN’s cleantech funding database includes even more opportunities.