National SBA names VEI best community partner in state

Are you a military veteran in need of a partner to build your small tech business?

Well, in Central Florida, you have one of the best, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative was named Community Partner of the Year in northern Florida – and the entire state – by the SBA last week.

“Our goal has always been to help build our economy by giving veterans the tools they need to start and grow businesses throughout the state, creating thousands of jobs,” says Rafael Caamano, VEI’s executive director. “We are so honored to have this organization recognize the work our team has been doing for so many years.”

The VEI has been planning its 10th anniversary celebration next month.

“This year, we’ve seen an incredibly competitive field of nominees, each demonstrating the vital role small businesses play in job creation and economic growth in our region,’ SBA North Florida District Director Jonel Hein said in a release. ‘Our winners exemplify not just entrepreneurial excellence but also a deep commitment to strengthening our community through significant employment opportunities.”

Here are some milestones for VEI, which provides one-on-one coaching, seminars and intensive cohorts focus on key skills for entrepreneurs:

  • VEI launches out of University of Central Florida in 2013.
  • Goes independent in 2018.
  • More than 500 jobs with combined wages of $36.4 million in 2022 alone.
  • Total economic impact in 2022: $106.3 million.

VEI will celebrate its 10th anniversary on May 9 at the Veterans Business Summit.