As a veteran, you are entitled to various benefits to help jump start your business idea, or to help your current business grow and prosper. Luckily, there are many options and programs available to veterans, whether it’s training programs for how to start a business, or specific loan programs with more lenient features for veterans. A great starting point would be the SBA website (sba.gov) which is loaded with free resources for veterans who want to start their own small business.
There are 15 locations of the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program (VBOC) throughout the country, which provide business training, counseling, and mentoring to veterans trying to start a small business. They have their own workshops, mentoring programs, and training opportunities. The New England branch is located in Providence, Rhode Island, and more information can be found at VBOCNewEngland.org.
Boots to Business is a free education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to veterans who want to become entrepreneurs. This is a two-day introduction to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, writing a business plan, and how to transition out of the military.
Funding and Financing Your Small Business
In terms of funding, the Small Business Administration has a Veterans Advantage 7(a) Loan, which has long terms and lower down payments for veterans who are trying to finance their small business. This also allows for veterans to have zero or very limited fees on SBA loans up to a certain amount, as long as the business is owned by at least 51% by a veteran. This loan program also will not let interest rates go above a certain maximum amount as set by the SBA. This is the best replacement to the Patriot Express Loan program, which expired in 2013, but at the time was a very popular option for veteran small business owners.
Other funding options include:
Despite the variety of options available to veteran small business owners, there are still some things to keep in mind when trying to get business loans, veteran or not. Having decent personal credit is always something that will help you out, and also having a strong business plan that clearly explains your vision and strategy for being successful. If you have any questions about resources available to you as you’re trying to start your small business, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (617) 695-0009.
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