Help is available for military veterans to become great entrepreneurs

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As we remember the fallen service members who fought America on Remembrance Day, it is also a reminder to honor the veterans who are still with us and who have come to civilian life. According to the SBA, about 10% of all businesses in this country are veteran-owned businesses. These companies employ approximately 5.8 million Americans, according to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). In fact, some of the country’s best-known companies were founded by veterans, including FedEx, GoDaddy, RE / MAX, and Walmart.

The SBA reports that among the top industries for veteran-owned businesses are finance and insurance; transport and storage; mining, oil and gas; construction; professional services; and manufacturing.

Like all small businesses, veteran-owned businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of businesses were forced to close during the lockdown, and many never reopened. Those that were able to reopen have seen their operations restricted by COVID-related social distancing regulations and additional operating costs, including personal protective equipment (PPE).

The federal government offered the recently concluded Paycheck Protection Program (P3), which provided a lifeline for small business owners, as did the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Economic Disaster Loans. the SBA who offer loans with low interest rates and long repayment periods (30 years).

Sources of funding for veteran-owned businesses

Angel investment firm Hivers & Strivers has invested exclusively in companies run by military veterans. Many entrepreneurs are graduates of service academies (West Point, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Academy).

Veterans Venture Capital exists “because veterans make great entrepreneurs, and we believe the return on investment is just greater in the long run.”

TFX Capital is a veteran-led venture capital firm focused solely on investing in high performing, accomplished and commercially tested former military leaders who are developing technology (B2B) and technology-based businesses.

The Veterans Business Fund (VBF) is a non-profit organization established to provide capital to veterans who are well qualified through their military background to become successful small business owners, but who lack sufficient equity capital to qualify for a small business loan. The VBF provides capital to veterans in the form of an interest-free loan with very favorable repayment terms.

The United States Department of Veteran Affairs, the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to help veterans have the resources they need at every stage of entrepreneurship, including access to capital.

Warrior Rising empowers veterans and their immediate family members by providing opportunities for grants, mentoring, and other types of business support.

The SBA and organizations, such as the National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC), promote the growth, strength and success of veteran-owned small businesses in the federal marketplace by helping veteran-owned businesses gain recognition for federal contracts. The SBA’s Small Business Owned Service Disabled Veterans Program aims to award at least 3% of all federal contract dollars to small businesses owned by veterans with a service disability each year.

The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization governed and directed by Corporate America. Its mission is to create contract opportunities for veteran-owned businesses through certification, advocacy, awareness, recognition and education. Additionally, the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is a one-stop-shop for transitioning military personnel, veterans, and military spouses looking to start, buy, or grow a business.

SCORE has partnered with Facebook to help veterans, military personnel and their families start and grow their own small businesses. SCORE provides free resources and connects successful future entrepreneurs with mentors in their region. Some of SCORE’s mentors are military veterans themselves. They understand the challenges of seasoned entrepreneurs because they’ve faced them as well. They can help veterans translate their military skills into business success.

SCORE provides online resources including webinars that provide practical step-by-step advice on starting a business and filing the proper documents to secure funding and an online seminar providing veterinary advice on property ownership. business.

Veterans make up only 8% of the U.S. population, but they are twice as likely to own a business as their civilian counterparts. Veteran-owned businesses have annual sales of $ 1.1 trillion. This shouldn’t be surprising, because business ownership, in many ways, is a battle. Entrepreneurs face challenges on a daily basis. Military veterans can rely on their experience and resilience to become successful business owners. Veterans are often great leaders, with a sharp determination and the ability to get the job done while serving in the U.S. military. These skills can come in handy as they transition into civilian life.

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