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Updated: June 4th, 2021
Veterans do more for our country than protect our borders and our freedom (as if that wasn’t enough already)—it turns out they play a critical role in our economy. More than 10% of veterans are self-employed business owners, employing over 5.8 million individuals.
However, like for most American entrepreneurs, getting access to capital isn’t easy. It takes money to make money, especially when starting a brand-new business or financing expensive ongoing costs.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) used to provide various loan programs to provide veterans with financial assistance. However, those programs are no longer in existence:
While these veteran-specific programs are no longer in operation, the SBA still provides a couple of funding programs, training, and contracting opportunities to veterans:
We cover all the details of these funding programs, training, and contracting opportunities below:
While veterans don’t get any special discounts or waived guarantee fees, SBA 7(a) loans are still a great financing option for funding your business. You can use your 7(a) loan proceeds on just about any business purpose, and they often come with the lowest interest rates and most flexible repayments terms on the market.
Apply for an SBA 7(a) loan with Funding Circle to secure a loan from $25k to $500k with a flat 6% interest rate and loan terms up to 10 years. Start your application now by taking 6 minutes to answer a few questions.
SBA microloans function much the same way as standard 7(a) loans, except for they have smaller loan amounts and can’t be used on real estate purchases or debt consolidation. Microloans usually have a $50,000 maximum and interest rates between 8% to 13%.
SBA 504 loans provide long-term, fixed-rate financing for loans up to $5 million. These loan proceeds can be used on fixed assets that boost job creation and business growth. Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA’s community-based partners, offer SBA 504 loans.
The SBA’s MREIDL program provides loans up to $2 million to help cover operating costs that can’t be met because an essential employee was called to activity duty in the Reserves or National Guard. These loans have a 4% interest rate and up to 30-year repayment terms.
Loan proceeds can be used to cover ordinary and necessary operating expenses. You’ll need to provide collateral for any MREIDL loans greater than $50,000, but the SBA won’t decline your loan application if you don’t have sufficient assets.
The OVBD facilitates all veteran SBA loans and programs. OVBD provides Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) across the country to offer in-person workshops, mentorship, training, and more for eligible veterans.
Boot to Business is an SBA entrepreneurial program designed to provide an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals. There’s a variety of programs offering education to activity-duty service members and their spouses, as well as veterans of all eras.
The WVETP provides entrepreneurial training to women veterans, women service members, and spouses of service members and veterans. The SBA funds these training programs through the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) and Lift Fund.
The SDVETP is a training grant offered to service-disabled veterans who aspire to be small business owners or currently own a small business.
The VFPETP provides entrepreneurship training to veterans and service-disabled business owners who are pursuing federal procurement.
The SDVOSBC aims to set aside at least 3% of federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses every year. The federal government limits competition for these specific contracts to help eligible veterans.
Michael Jones is a Senior Editor for Funding Circle, specializing in small business loans. He holds a degree in International Business and Economics from Boston University's Questrom School of Business. Prior to Funding Circle, Michael was the Head of Content for Bond Street, a venture-backed FinTech company specializing in small business loans. He has written extensively about small business loans, entrepreneurship, and marketing.