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Disabled Vets Finding New Opportunities At Center

Urban Miyares, a blind Vietnam veteran who’s also a serial entrepreneur, has dedicated the last 20 years helping thousands of fellow disabled veterans find their way in the business world.

Now, the president and co-founder of the San Diego-based Disabled Businesspersons Association, which has helped more than 12,000 disabled veterans realize their dream of self-employment or re-entering the work force, for 20 years, wants to put even more veterans back in businesses.

The association announced Oct. 21 that it received the Veterans Business Resource Center in San Diego contract from the National Veterans Business Development Corp., better known as the Veterans Corp.

Alexandria, Va.-based Veterans Corp. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veteran entrepreneurs succeed, said spokesman Bill Murray.

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Miyares will direct the center with a $125,000 grant given by the group’s board of directors.

He plans to raise an additional $465,000 from private sources to cover first-year operations of the center, run under the umbrella of the disabled businesspersons association.

During its first year, he expects the center could serve between 1,000 and 1,500 disabled and healthy veterans with “one-stop shopping,” providing access to capital and one-on-one counseling, among other services.

Miyares, who was blinded while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, said he can relate to veterans returning from duty in Afghanistan and Iraq and, most of all, the unique challenges facing disabled veterans.

“We know what they’ve been through,” Miyares said. “And we will start by letting them know right upfront what to expect in the business world, so they’re prepared for the challenges if they can’t walk or can’t see in an able-bodied business world. We teach them how to do it.”

The San Diego center is the second to open nationally. The first center opened in St. Louis in 2004, Miyares said.

He expects that the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act, signed into law by President Clinton in August 1999, which called for the implementation of the centers, will create at least five more such centers nationwide.

The 58-year-old Rancho Penasquitos resident said he has founded dozens of businesses, including a restaurant chain, a marketing company and a steel fabrication firm, but didn’t want to give their names.

Miyares’ achievements have gained him recognition from the White House, the Small Business Administration, Congress, the governor of California and others.

The center, at 3590 Camino del Rio N., is set to hold a grand opening Nov. 2 from 7 to 10 a.m.

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Imaging Service Moves To Mira Mesa:

OCB Reprographics, which provides a range of imaging services, announced Oct. 21 that it relocated from Sorrento Valley to 5915 Mira Mesa Blvd., Suite A, near Pacific Heights Boulevard.

Store manager Joel Powell and 21 employees moved into the new 8,000-square-foot space to serve nearby Sorrento Mesa, University Towne Centre and La Jolla.


Send small-business news to sdbj@sdbj.com.

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