Benefits for veteran-owned small businesses
There are over 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Because of how much veterans contribute to our economy, there are several opportunities through the federal government and private organizations to help veterans grow thriving businesses.
But first, let’s start with some basics. If you’re a vet and you own your own business, you’re going to want to get registered as a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) through the SBA.
How to register as a veteran-owned small business
You can register as a veteran-owned small business through the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. To qualify, 51% of the business must be owned and operated by a veteran and the business must meet all the qualifications of a small business as outlined by the SBA. For instance, there are caps on the number of employees and the amount of revenue you can have.
Once you register as a VOSB, you can tap into opportunities like access to funding and government contracts that only veteran-owned small businesses can bid on.
Funding and resources for veteran-owned small businesses
Here are some of the best and most popular benefits for veteran-owned small businesses.
SBA Veterans Advantage 7(a) loan
This loan program, offered through the SBA, is designed to help veterans start and grow businesses. Many people take advantage of this loan because it offers low interest rates and no upfront guarantee for loans of less than $125,000. For loans over $125,000 but less than $350,000, the SBA offers a 50% discount on the fee. This helps veterans gain quicker access to capital, allowing them to hire employees, purchase real estate, invest in equipment, and more.
The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
If you’re a small business owner and one of your essential employees is called to active duty, you can qualify for a loan through this program. Loans of up to $2 million can be acquired under these circumstances. Learn more on the SBA website.
Government contracts through the VA
Business owners can apply for government contracts set aside for veteran-owned small businesses. This program is offered through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. It’s known as the Veterans First Contracting Program, which supports U.S. veterans by giving them access to government contracts that only they are eligible to bid on. To participate, you must be verified through the Vets First Verification program.
Hivers & Strivers
This is an Angel Investment Group that funds recent graduates from U.S. military academies to help them launch a business. Investments range from $250,000 to $1m. Many of the investors are veterans. If you’re a recent graduate of a military academy and have a business idea, submit it on the Hivers & Strivers website.
Benefits for disabled veterans
If you have a service-related disability, you may qualify for these programs through the federal government designed to help you succeed with your business.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program
This program through the SBA allows disabled veterans to bid on contracts unavailable to other businesses. About 3% of all government contracts fall into this category. Along with meeting the minimum small business and VOSB requirements, here are some of the other qualifications you need to meet to apply:
- Have one or more service-disabled employee who is involved in day-to-day operations as well as long-term decisions of the business.
- Veteran(s) must have a disability connected to their service.
- Visit the SBA website for more information.
Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program
The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program is offered through the Department of Veteran Affairs to help veterans with service-related disabilities find and keep employment after completing their service.
You can choose from a few different tracks, one of which is the Self-Employment Track. This track helps veterans with disabilities who want to launch their own businesses. Those who qualify get access to training and resources to help them create and implement a business plan. Visit the VA website for more information.
As someone who has courageously served your country, you are entitled to these benefits to help you embark on a dream of starting a business. For inspiration from a fellow vet who followed a passion to be a business owner, watch this video with Hiscox customer Kenneth Flowers about his unique journey of starting a professional cleaning business.
For more information on small business marketing, finance, technology, and more, visit the Grow Your Business page.