Supporting veteran-owned small businesses is an important part of the Small Business Administration’s mission. Veterans over-index in entrepreneurship. One in seven veterans are self-employed or small business owners, and about one quarter of veterans say they are interested in starting or buying their own business. The leadership and management skills veterans have learned during their active duty and reserve service are ideally suited for success as an entrepreneur. With this in mind, SBA has an extensive portfolio of effective loan, counseling and contracting programs that benefit the veteran community.
SBA Programs Supporting Veteran Small Business Ownership
Loans Supporting Veteran Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
o SBA’s two largest loan programs, 7(a) and 504, offer effective financing opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners. In FY 2010, the SBA supported more than 4,800 loans totaling over $1.25 billion to veterans through these two loan programs.
o The Patriot Express Loan Pilot Program offers low interest loans to members of the veteran and military community. Since it was created in 2007, the SBA has approved 6,510 Patriot Express loans supporting more than $500 million in small business lending to veterans, reservists and their spouses.
Entrepreneurship Education for Veterans Wanting to Start or Grow Their Business
o SBA’s Veteran Business Outreach Center Program (VBOC) offers outreach, counseling, training, online assistance and coordinated access to local SBA and other entrepreneurial assistance program. Over the past year the SBA doubled the VBOC Program from eight to 16 locations.
o The Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a partnership between SBA and Syracuse University, delivers entrepreneurship training through a one-year “boot camp” for service-disabled veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who want to start or grow small businesses. EBV is designed to open the door to business ownership for our veterans. The EBV program is expanding to a total of seven business schools at universities around the country: Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, UCLA, Florida State University, Texas A & M University, Purdue University and Louisiana State University.
o Operation Endure & Grow is a new program that expands on the SBA and Syracuse University ”boot camp” and will provide high quality training, networking and mentoring to support Reservists and U.S. Military family members. The SBA expects 550 individuals to participate in 11 eight week online training cycles and courses during a 24-month period.
o Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is a second new program under the partnership between the SBA and Syracuse University that will deliver high quality training, networking and mentoring in seven locations to 1,400 women veterans during a 36-month period. The program consists of a three-day, off-site training program, online training and network support structures.
Expanding Opportunities for Veterans to Compete for and Win Federal Contracts
o The Small Business Jobs Act established “parity” or a level playing field between service-disabled veterans and other groups of small business owners in the contracting arena. Parity will increase government contracting opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), helping to achieve the government wide 3 percent SDVOSB goal.
o The Small Business Jobs Act established the SBA Mentor-Protégé Program for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, which will be launched in 2011.
o The SBA is expanding its outreach to service-disabled veterans with a new online contracting tutorial to help veterans and military spouses who own small businesses identify and take advantage of federal contracting opportunities.
o The Office of Veteran’s Business Development provided SDVOSB procurement training to more than 4,000 SBVOSB’s in 2010 to help achieve the 3% SDVOSB goal.
The Recovery Act provided $1.67 billion in contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran owned businesses, exceeding the 3% contracting goal for SDVOSB.
Continuing to Strengthen Support for Veteran Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
o SBA’s Veterans Outreach Initiative provided small business ownership guidance and assistance to over 140,000 veterans and reservists in 2010. This program was recently expanded to 30 SBA district offices.
o SBA’s resource partners, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE and the Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) support the veteran community through counseling and training efforts. Many specially designed programs have also been created such as virtual veterans’ centers. In 2010 these resource partners served 61,454 veterans, 9,214 service- disabled veterans, and 4,218 reservists and/or National Guard.
o SBA chairs the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development focused on improving and expanding opportunities for veteran business owners. These efforts include increasing access to capital, improving business development opportunities, and meeting Federal contracting goals for veteran-owned small businesses service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.