Learn about SBA Programs & Initiatives for Veteran Entrepreneurs

On this Fourth of July, as we celebrate our freedoms, I want share with you the ways SBA and the Office of Veterans Business Development are celebrating veteran entrepreneurs.

The Administration and SBA are committed to ensuring that the federal government continues their dedication to our returning veterans.  As part of this, for the first time ever, in FY 2012 the federal government exceeded the three percent goal to contract with Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. Small businesses won a record $12.56 billion in federal prime contracts – an increase of more than $1 billion from FY 2011. This dollar amount represents 3.03 percent of all federal prime contractor spending.

This news is truly exciting, especially considering that nearly one in 10 small businesses nationwide is veteran-owned.  As a whole, these 2.4 million small businesses employ nearly six million Americans and generate more than $1 trillion in receipts. And, in the private sector workforce, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.

Additionally, SBA is working hard to improve access to capital for veteran entrepreneurs through the Veterans Pledge Initiative.   With the support of SBA’s top 20 national lending partners, and approximately 100 additional regional and community lending partners across the United States, SBA expects to assist an additional 2,000 veterans obtain loans to start or expand small businesses by increasing lending by $475 million over the next five years.

Veteran entrepreneurs can find more information about this initiative, and locate one of SBA’s 68 district offices here.  The site also identifies lending institutions participating in the veteran lending initiative. In addition, SBA has developed a checklist to assist veterans applying for access to capital.

And, as we look at how to help those who are dreaming of owning their own business, SBA is laying down the foundation to help service members transitioning from active duty to learn more about entrepreneurship and franchising through its Operation: Boots to Business Program.  Many service members will apply the skills and experience they developed in the U.S. Armed Forces to their civilian communities as doctors and police officers, engineers and entrepreneurs.

Again, I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July as we celebrate our freedoms and the essence of what makes this country a great place to live and work as small business entrepreneurs.

Article can be found here.