Group of military menThe last five years have shown a definite move in the direction of creating veteran-owned business opportunities. Sixteen states with no previous programs have adopted executive orders or legislation that makes them vetrepreneur-friendly states. The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) has done much to promote programs for veterans.

One Veteran’s Story

Modesto California’s E & R Auto Wrecking is a business owned and run by a U.S. Armed Forces veteran. His name is Jose Espinoza. He understands the required sacrifice during the time of service. Jose worked his way through the ranks and became an Army captain. With the help provided by the U. S. government to former military personnel, Captain Espinoza became a small business owner. He and his partner, Ricardo Garcia, are independent business owners who focus on the purchase, logistics and disassembling of old vehicles. The automotive material and parts are repurposed.

Espinoza’s service to his country is not over. He participates in the California National Guard. His training in the service gave him a sense of purpose. Jose was taught responsibility and time management. He has transferred those skills to his current situation which allows him to serve while E & R Auto Wrecking continues to operate.

Recycling parts and metal from wrecked and nonfunctional vehicles is an important aspect of his business. The earth’s environment is less polluted by the prevention of the materials going into a landfill. The company recycles nearly 85 percent of the wrecked cars’ metal. E & R Auto Wrecking is a year round business that caters especially to current military personnel and military veterans. Delivering the best value and personal service is the goal of his business.

Jose Espinoza is proof of the programs’ success. His passion for attention to details and excellence has improved the business he and his partner run. His military experience has been expanded by the pursuit of a California State University, Sacramento undergraduate degree. His professionalism and ambition have been assets in his business ventures. Jose went on to earn a masters degree in business.

California’s Efforts to Help

California has been very pro-active in promoting vetrepreneur opportunities. Paul Cook, an Assemblyman from Yucca Valley, introduced legislation that saved deployed military members from paying a minimum $800 franchise tax for defunct or unprofitable businesses.

Past legislation was established to set aside three percent of contracts with the state for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. A 2007 modification to the program holds state agencies accountable for the three percent goal. Price preferences are also offered to SDVOBs.

Other California vetrepreneurs include Bob Helton, who owns a real estate company in South Bay; David Lowenthal, owner of Cal Tax and Finance and Steven Cilenti, attorney for Clienti Law Offices. They are veterans that have utilized the services of veteran-owned business resources. They make connections with fellow veterans, everyday consumers, corporate purchasing departments, prime and sub-contractors and government agencies that proudly and forcefully support veteran businesses. Help is available for veterans, active duty military, service disabled veterans and spouses of those who served.