You’ve served your country proudly, and now you’re prepared to serve your community through contributing to the economy and starting a new business. The great news is that there are many programs available to help veterans get the capital required for their small businesses, through the Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other funds and grants.
Funding Programs for Veterans Through the Small Business Administration
The primary way to get funding for your small business as a veteran is through the Small Business Administrations (SBA) Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loan program. This loan is through the SBA and is special for veterans in that it offers the same benefits of standard small business loans, but with “fee-relief.”
For this program, the following benefits are available:
- On loans of $150,000 or less the upfront guarantee fee is zero.
- On SBA Express Loans, the upfront guarantee fee is zero.
- For Non-SBA Express Loans, the upfront guarantee fee for loans of $150,000 to $500,000 is 50% less than the guarantee fee for loans for non-veteran owned small businesses.
To qualify for this program, the business must be at least 51% owned by an honorably discharged veteran; an active duty military service member eligible for the Transition Assistance Program; active Reservists or active National Guard Members; or the spouse of a veteran, Reservist, National Guard Member, or the widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or as a result of a service-connected disability.
Funding Programs for Veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several programs for veteran-owned small businesses.
VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
The VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) offers potential assistance to economically disadvantaged veterans, with the goal of connecting these businesses with as many government contracts as possible. While this program is not a loan or a grant, it is a great potential for any business as the contracts can be very lucrative. Veterans interested in this program can register with this office and, once the business has been verified, it will be added to the government’s directory to be considered for contracts.
VA Small Business Grants
For non-profit small businesses, The Department of Veterans Affairs Small Business Grants are available. As these are grants, they do not need to be repaid but have strict guidelines for compliance. Each grant is different, so check the requirements before you apply for each to make sure you qualify.
VA Vocational Rehab and Employment Ownership Track
For those veterans who are suffering from a service-connected disability, they VA Vocational Rehab and Employment Ownership Track can give you assistance. To qualify, you must be enrolled and suffer from a handicap that makes it difficult to find employment. This program will help you develop your business plan, work with you on analyzing the business concept, train you in small-business operations, including marketing and finances, and give you guidance for how to implement your business plan. Although it does not offer capital outright, it does give advisors who will make your path toward business ownership easier.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
In a program that is similar to the OSDBU mentioned above, the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program is specifically designed to connect qualifying veterans with government contracts. By law, the federal government has set aside 3% of contracting dollars to be spent on businesses run by disabled veterans. As with the OSDBU, you need to enroll with the program and be put in the government’s directory to be considered for these contracts.
Entrepreneurship Programs for Veterans
In addition to funding opportunities, there are many programs available to veterans that give entrepreneurship opportunities, including both in-person classes and online courses. There are also advisors to help in many of these programs.
Boots to Business
In the Boots to Business program, future entrepreneurs who are actively serving can take classes and advisement while stationed in military bases around the world. This works in conjunction with the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). There is also the Boots to Business Reboot program available to veterans once they leave active service.
Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program
In this program, women veterans, women service members and female spouses of service members and veterans can get training as they start a new business. The SBA funds these training programs.
Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program
This program offers training to service-disabled veterans and is funded by the SBA. Working with this program are the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP), Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans – St. Joseph’s University, and Dog Tag, Inc.
Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program
This program, available to both veterans and service-disabled veterans, provides entrepreneurship training to those who are interested in pursuing, or are already engaged in federal procurement.
Other Programs for Veterans in Small Business
Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
This program, the MREIDL, is designed to help protect reservists from economic injury by being called into active duty. This loan program provides working capital necessary for a small business to operate while the essential employee (the reservist) is on active duty. This loan can range up to $2 million, but is a secured loan, usually with real estate.
Hivers and Strivers
Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group that is focused on helping fund the small business of military academy graduates. They invest between $250,000 to $1 million per round of financing and take an active role in the businesses as board members.
The StreetShares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers access to capital opportunities as well as training, mentoring, coaching, and networking. The Veteran Small Business Award is a grant of up to $15,000.
About Small Business Funding
We are the one stop alternative financing funding source. Regardless if you have bad credit, short time in business, tax liens, judgments, or fast capital needs, we are your solution.
Our philosophy is why work harder when you can work smarter? That’s why Small Business Funding, through our network of financial partners, work with multiple providers on your behalf. Getting you the best rate and terms for your business.
Our network offers you access to quick and easy working capital to meet your individual business needs. We will put together a program to suit your business goals and financial situation, with ease. Why fill out 2, 4, even 6 applications when all you need to do is fill out one?
We recognize that small businesses are the driving force to grow our economy. In good times, as well as the challenging times, business owners need a fast cash flow solution. Whether you use it for payroll, purchase new equipment, expand inventory, pay taxes, etc. Fact is, it doesn’t matter what you use the funds for, as long as it helps grow your business and increase your revenue!
If your company was turned down by traditional lending sources, such as banks and other commercial lending institutions, Small Business Funding can help.
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