It’s no secret that veterans can face challenges and hardships when re-acclimating to civilian life. One of the ways vets can build a successful future is by starting their own business. With Veteran’s Day fast approaching on Sunday, November 11th, part of thanking you for your service, is to help in whatever we can to ensure you have a bright and successful future. If you are looking to get your venture off the ground, there are many programs and resources to consider that specifically work with veterans.
Consider beginning your journey with the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program. This program provides business training, financing advice, and mentoring via multiple locations across the country.
If you would prefer to do your own research online, you can also check out the Veterans Business Service. A totally online resource for franchise opportunities, consulting services, and entrepreneurial education.
Financing advice and training are highly beneficial for vets-turned-entrepreneurs. Having mentors who also served can provide this valuable information in a knowledgeable and relatable way.
Grants for vets are usually only open to applications for a set period of time, after which that money is no longer available. It’s also unusual for business grants to be given out at the state government level, however, in the federal scope, vets have a few opportunities to consider depending on your unique circumstances.
- Grants.gov: Your comprehensive database for finding specific federal grants to fit your needs. Learn about what grants are and what they can do for your business. Find out your eligibility. You can even register as a business owner, and apply directly from the website. Keep up with your application in real time, so you can always monitor the state of your funding, and make changes if necessary.
- SBA: Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): These centers are great tools for free business consulting and affordable training in areas like financial planning, business model development, market research help. You can find the SBDC in your state here.
The SBA also has many resources for loan programs as well. If your application for a grant is not accepted, or there isn’t the right grant available in your startup timeline, consider looking into a business loan.
SBA’s Veterans Advantage loans
The SBA’s Veteran’s Advantage Loan program allows business loans for up to $350,000. According to startups.co, there are two types of loans that fall under the umbrella of this program:
- SBA 7(a) Loan: While this loan is for both veterans and non-veterans, there are some special perks for vets under the Veterans Advantage program. For loans up to $125,000, vets can get upfront guaranty fees of zero. For loans greater than $125,000, vets are promised a 50 percent reduction of guaranty fees. Loans can be for up to $350,000.
- SBA Express: The SBA Express loan is basically a 7(a) loan, but with faster turnaround time. Applicants can expect to hear back from the SBA within 72 hours of applying. Under the Veteran’s Advantage program, all upfront loan guaranty fee is waived on loans between $150,001 and $350,000.
While these are not the only loans available to vets, they are a couple of the most popular options available.
Although some of the resource centers and programs require traveling or conducting very in-depth research, they do provide a safe space to help you realize and understand the vision for your business.