Over the past decade, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has become one of the single best destinations for military veterans to find new sources of financing. Furthermore, they help to line up new federal contracts and get access to new training courses specifically geared to potential entrepreneurs. There are three key ways that the SBA can help veterans launch a new small business.
Let’s take a look at them.
#1: Veteran Entrepreneurial training
Every year, approximately 250,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life. A growing proportion of these service members is giving serious thought to launching their own companies. However, many of them may have little to the traditional business skills needed to get a startup off the ground.
In response, the U.S. SBA has created a number of highly successful entrepreneurship training programs. Such programs include the Operation Boots to Business, Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans With Disabilities and the Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE).
The Veterans Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans With Disabilities launched in partnership with Syracuse University in 2009. Since that time, it has expanded to include a number of other universities. These include UCLA, Florida State, Texas A&M and Purdue. As part of the program, disabled veterans learn the basics of how to create and launch a business. The emphasis is on real-world practical lessons that the veterans can immediately apply to the business world.
#2: Veteran-Owned Business Funding opportunities
When most people think of the Small Business Administration, one of the first things that come to mind is an SBA loan. And the SBA, indeed, has earmarked a substantial amount of funding each year for veteran-owned small businesses. In 2012, for example, the SBA made 3,200 loans worth a combined total of $2.1 billion to 2,800 veteran-owned small businesses.
In some cases, veterans can get access to expedited loans, such as through the Patriot Express loan program. This makes it easier to get the capital needed to buy equipment, build up inventory or hire new employees.
#3: Veteran-Owned Contracting Opportunities
The lifeblood of any business is the ability to bring in new clients. And the SBA makes that easier by setting up a special contracting program for veteran-owned business. When government agencies put contracts out to bid, they can earmark a portion of those contracts for veteran-owned small businesses.
That makes it easier for companies helmed by military veterans to get access to new contracts. And, to make it even easier, the SBA also holds online contracting classes to get would-be entrepreneurs up-to-speed on the process of winning federal contracts.
Thus, the U.S. Small Business Administration really should be one of your first destinations if you’re thinking of launching a new startup. Whether you are looking for specialized training or access to new capital, there are plenty of new opportunities available.
In addition to its online presence, the SBA also has an extensive network of district offices and outreach centers. Making it easy for just about any veteran, in any part of the country, to become a new veteran entrepreneur.