Just like a regular entrepreneur, veterans have access to unique resources and loan programs to support their business endeavors and access capital. If you are a veteran and an entrepreneur who wants to achieve success in the business world, this article will give you all the tips and tools you need. Find out what benefits you can enjoy through business loans for veterans, and where you can find them.
Business Loans for Veterans: What are they? How do they work?
VA stands for Veteran Affairs. Business loans for veterans, or VA loans, refer to every type of financing that veterans or active military personnel receive with the intention of venturing or reinforcing ties in the business world. They are often offered along with business development tools.
Opening a business or starting an alternative career in the corporate world can demand funds that veterans may not have: for hiring new staff, paying locations, rent, services, and other related expenses. Veterans, wives, widows, and active military personnel need viable and affordable funding alternatives.
The debt financing will help veterans to finance and grow their enterprises or business ventures. Since they spent (or spend) much of their time serving the country, they often don’t have the capital to invest in a project.
Who is eligible to participate in VA loans or business programs?
By definition, all veterans are eligible to receive some funding and other business tools, training, or programs. Active military personnel can also receive help, as well as service-disabled veterans.
In most cases, veterans that have suffered dishonorable discharge from the army, navy, flight team, national guard, or other military-related activity are not eligible to receive funds for their business ventures. The majority of loans, grants, funding, and training programs give benefits to veterans’ wives, widows, and National Guard and Reservists as well.
Eligible types of businesses
If you want to apply for small and medium-sized business loans for veterans, you need to own the majority of the enterprise, that is at least 51% of the shares. That is the primary requisite to apply for a VA loan.
If the business, however, is of the “pyramid scheme” variety or involved in lending or gambling activities, or if it is a nonprofit organization, it would be ineligible for one of the programs, grants, loans, or financing measures.
The Best Business Loans for Veterans
- The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL): The MREIDL can provide veterans and active personnel up to $2 million as a cover for operating costs unable to be met because of the loss of vital employee that has been called to active duty, specifically in the Reserves or National Guard.
- SBA Veterans Advantage Lending: This program provides guarantees on those loans that have been approved to businesses or other ventures owned in its majority by veterans and their wives.
- Boots to Business: It is a program for veteran entrepreneurs, and it is offered in military bases and installations around the world, as well as in a training track of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. It trains veterans of all ages and eras in their respective societies and communities.
- Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVEPT): The WVEPT is another entrepreneurial program, this time directed to women veterans. It offers business training for service members, women spouses of active duty personnel, as well as veterans, at the time of opening a business. Related grantees are:
- Service Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP): The SDVETP offers training in business for service-disabled veterans that want to own and manage small commerces. Related grantees are:
- Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP): The VFPETP specializes in training veterans and service-disabled personnel in entrepreneurship, especially those interested in federal procurement.
- Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP): It is another entrepreneurship program for veterans that addressed federal procurement, offering three training programs: VIP Grow, VIP Start, and VIP International: the first assist companies in developing marketplace strategies; the second helps companies ready to enter the federal market and the last aids business that desire to expand their contracting or commercial opportunities in foreign locations.
Alternative or Non-bank Sources of Capital for Veterans
- Streetshares: It is a veteran-administered platform that serves as a financial marketplace for retired and active personnel, specifically those with small business ventures. It aims to connect investors with beneficiaries.
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Loans: This program is sponsored by the SBA. It is meant to help veterans and personnel whose businesses suffered any hit when they went to active duty. The interest rates can be as low as 4%, with terms possibly expanding to 30 years.
- Veterans Business Fund: It provides several funding options for military personnel, but makes it clear that it can’t cover the whole amount.
- Hivers and Strivers: This program helps veteran-managed startups to surge, but the person in question has to be a US Military Academy graduate.
- Camino Financial: Although Camino Financial doesn’t have a specific VA program, their microloans and small business loans are very competitive. They specialize in business loans for minorities, and a loan specialist will be assigned to you to walk you through the loan process. Other benefits include the speed and ease of the online loan process: you can receive your funds just days after submitting your loan application.
Other Available Resources for Veterans
Besides business loans for veterans, there are a number of other financing sources and tools that can help you start a business, qualify for a loan, or just gather the information and education you need as an entrepreneur.
Veterans can significantly benefit from business grants. They can be government-offered or private. Some of them are:
- VetFran Business Grant Fund: This grant works smoothly as a supplement for a business loan, as it represents a $10,000 fund injection for veterans that have been awarded a franchise via the IFA VetFran scheme.
- USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant: Managed by the Department of Agriculture, this specific grant focuses on providing veterans with all the needed tools (education, training, funding, and outreach) for their business ventures in the agricultural world.
- Little Caesars Veterans Program: It is offered by the famous restaurant chain Little Caesars. It consists of a $5,000 franchise fee discount and other offerings, including marketing expenses and supplies, which can ascend to $30,000.
Business development centers or organizations
- Veterans Business Services: It is a consulting service for veterans that own small businesses, which can vary from startups to franchises. It provides tools to find business loan investors and serves as a connecting platform.
- VetBiz: Short for Veterans Business Resource Center, VetBiz mentors and develops veterans and active duty personnel in business consulting.
- Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families: This organization holds conferences and provides training resources such as boot camps.
- EBV National Program: it stands for Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), and it offers some of the same resources as the Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. It is an online learning program.
- National Veterans Business Development Council: The NVBDC serves as a counseling resource made by veterans, for veterans. It is a third-party non-profit agency that provides certifications for businesses owned by U.S. military retired personnel. It has the contacts to connect veterans to lucrative loan opportunities.
- SCORE Veterans Fast Launch Initiative: It is a nonprofit foundation that has the intention of serving as an aid to small business. Specifically, the SCORE Veterans Fast Launch Initiative wants to help business get off the ground and begin operations as fast and smoothly as possible.
- Camino Financial Online Resources: besides small business loans, this alternative lender offers a variety of resources and tools in their educational blog. If you need personal guidance or are unsure about the needs of your business, you can take this free growth evaluation. Within 72 hours of completing the quick survey, you will receive a business report card identifying areas where you can transform and grow your business.
In conclusion, the US Government and the private sector have worked tirelessly to make sure that veterans, active duty personnel, and female entrepreneurs have all the available tools to start, grow, and finance their business.
With a line of credit available via different business loans, programs, alternative sources of capital, grants, and development centers and organizations, veterans can have access to working capital as their start and develop their dream of having their own company.
Financial institutions, as well as alternative organizations, offer business loans for veterans, service-disabled retired personnel, and active duty soldiers and higher ranked officials. Their wives and widows can also reap the benefits of these initiatives.