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All About Start-Up & Small Business Loans for Veterans

Small Business Loans for Veterans

Veteran-owned businesses make up more than ten percent of all businesses in the U.S., and veterans have founded 35% of all Fortune 500 companies.  Veterans are recognized as resourceful, highly skilled, and disciplined.  These are attributes that bode well for business success and make them good candidates for business loans.

Despite this, obtaining start-up funding from traditional lenders for a business without a proven track record is very difficult.  Fortunately, there are several options available specifically for veterans.

Small Business Loans for Veterans

Government-backed loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) exists to promote veteran entrepreneurship. It assists veterans and depensents in making use of SBA programs.  The programs provide access to capital and business opportunities, federal procurement, and commercial supply chains.

The SBA also facilitates loans to businesses when an essential employee to the business is called up for active duty in the military.  This is called a Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL.)

Veteran Affairs (VA)

The VA has an office dedicated to helping veterans start and grow small businesses.

Not-for-profit, VC, and Angel loans

  • The Veteran Business Fund is a not-for-profit organization created to provide veterans with favorable loans to start or expand their businesses. It is currently collecting donor funds and will process applications once it reaches its capital requirements.
  • The Street Shares Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that provides capital opportunities, educational content, mentors, coaching, and networking events to veteran entrepreneurs nationwide.
  • Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group funded by veterans, focusing on supporting start-up companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. Military Academies.
  • The Veterans Business Service provides access to capital and other assistance to veterans wishing to explore franchise opportunities. They also perform feasibility and business consulting for veterans who are eligible for VA Chapter 31 Self-Employment.
  • The UPS Store offers preferential franchise opportunities to veterans

Other veteran entrepreneur resources

Veterans in need of other business-related assistance, training, or networking opportunities have many organizations to consult.  This (non-exhaustive) list includes:

  • The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with disabilities (EBV) is a higher education business training program with mentorship and support provided by their network.
  • The Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC) is funded by the SBA and dedicated to helping veterans own and operate their own businesses through the Boots to Business program.
  • Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) runs a series of programs called ARSENAL aimed at upskilling veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Bunker Labs is a veteran-owned hotspot with networking, workshops, and programs designed to support veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) helps women veterans learn the business skills necessary to turn a business idea into reality.
  • SCORE’s Veteran Fast Launch Initiative provides mentoring and training to entrepreneurs through free software and services.
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