Business Loans for Veterans take center stage this week
The week of October 30 to November 3, 2017, is designated as National Veterans Small Business Week during which the Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates and empowers veteran business owners, entrepreneurial reservists and active duty members and their families.
Veterans typically possess many of the skills that lead to entrepreneurial success, including a strong work ethic, discipline, goal-setting ability, and leadership skills that transfer well into business. About 10 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by veterans, and these 2.5 million companies generate about $1.4 trillion in sales each yearly, according to SBA estimates.
The SBA offers a range of support for veterans as they pursue business ownership. The agency’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) aids the country’s 26 million military veterans, service-disabled vets, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents. Veterans can benefit from training and mentoring, federal procurement assistance, and SBA loan programs.
The SBA’s Boots to Business training course teaches veterans how to start and grow an enterprise and connects ex-military members to various business resources. Additionally, local OVBD offices offer counseling, advice and other support for veterans pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Topics covered include basic information about veteran-owned businesses and opportunities, services available to small veteran-owned companies, and government procurement methods.
Federal Procurement Assistance
The U.S. government spends billions of dollars on products and services, including vehicles, furniture, food, and construction services, to name a few. The government promotes consideration of veterans in federal procurement opportunities with the goal of 3 percent of purchases going to service-disabled veterans. The SBA offers online assistance to help veteran-owned businesses learn about Federal contracting opportunities.
The SBA provides business loans for veterans that enable them secure funding to start or grow their firms. For instance, the SBA Veterans Advantage program offers guarantees on loans approved to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by veterans or military spouses. Additionally, the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program grants funding to eligible companies that cannot meet their operating expenses after an essential employee is called for active duty in the military reserves.
Another helpful organization is the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), which has set up an online directory of America’s veteran-owned businesses, www.buyveteran.com, that helps connect those companies with customers interested in buying goods and services from them. According to NaVOBA, nearly 15 percent of FORTUNE® 1000 companies set goals to include veteran-owned businesses in their supply chains as part of their supplier diversity programs. Further, the organization says that in a recent survey, two-thirds of respondents said they’d rather purchase from a veteran-owned business than a non-veteran-owned business.