In 2019, Bunker Labs conducted a survey with military veterans transitioning to civilian life. One in four veterans responding to the survey expressed interest in starting their own business but needed funding to do so. If you’re a veteran turned entrepreneur, we are happy to let you know that many resources exist to help you succeed. We highlight a few of them below.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Veterans Advantage Loans
The SBA is the first place many would-be entrepreneurs turn when they need start-up funding. Obtaining funding through this government organization can be an especially good option for veterans. In addition to its regular loan programs providing small business owners with up to 5.5 million dollars, the SBA operates a separate program known as Veterans Advantage. This program offers reduced loan fees for veterans who meet one of the following eligibility criteria:
- Currently participating in the Transition Assistance Program
- Disabled veteran
- Honorably discharged veteran
- Member of the National Guard
- Member of the Reserves
- Spouse of a veteran meeting any of the above qualifications
The SBA guarantees loan approval if the person meeting one of these qualifications owns at least 51 percent of the new business.
Vets First Verification Program
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs operates the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) that lists your new small business in the Vets First Directory. Inclusion in the directory makes you eligible for contracts that the federal government reserves for veterans. Certification through this program helps you meet qualification requirements for several other small business funding programs for businesses.
You also gain access to the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal when you register with the OSDBU. The portal offers step-by-step guidance for conducting business with government agencies, including the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC)
The federal government operates numerous VBOCs across the country. To find the one closest to you, click this link and enter your ZIP code. Each center offers counseling, mentoring, training, and other small business resources for veterans. You will initially meet with a counselor who will direct you to the best programs for your situation. Bunker in a Box, National Veteran Entrepreneurship Program, Veteran Entrepreneurship Jumpstart Program, and Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship are just four examples of programs that your counselor may recommend for you.
The VetFran program is for military veterans interested in buying and operating a franchise. If you’re married, your spouse has access to the program as well. VetFran provides veterans with access to approximately 650 franchising opportunities along with training, mentorships, and military discounts. As a member of the VetFran network, you can request to meet with a counselor to help you decide if a specific franchising opportunity is right for you.
Palmetto Payroll is Here to Support Your New Small Business
We support our military veterans here at Palmetto Payroll and would be honored to offer payroll, administrative, and other types of support for your start-up. Please contact us today to request an appointment or learn more about our services.