A new certification test gauges the entrepreneurial knowledge and skill of service members ― and can give them a way to prove that they’re ready to start their own businesses.

Global education giant Pearson has partnered with the Defense Department to offer a new Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification.

“America was really built on entrepreneurship, and our society is changing faster than ever,” said Nicholas Haber, representing Pearson subsidiary CERTIPORT at the Council of College and Military Educators conference in San Diego Wednesday. “So, we want to really focus on: How do we really prepare people to be able to start a business here in our country?”

The certification may help prospective business owners seeking a startup loan from the bank, Haber said. He also noted that the certification could help service members get a leg up in the job market, as employers often value an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial mindset.

“We feel we’ve created something that is a trusted credential and trusted currency,” Haber said.

Triggered by research showing a large number of service members have an interest in starting their own businesses, the ESB certification exam rolled out to 350 military installations this month, according to Rodrigo Rampazzo, who works for Pearson VUE, the company’s computer-based testing arm.

It takes 50 minutes and costs $51. While the cost is not covered by the military, the company is exploring ways to make the certification more accessible to service members.

Since its official launch last year, the ESB credential has been endorsed by several state education departments and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

The American Council on Education recommends that schools recognize it as three college credits in business information technology or business administration.

Natalie Gross has been reporting for Military Times since 2017. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.

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