Business Grants for Veterans / Business Funding for Veterans
Following their exit from military service, veterans often find it difficult to adjust back to civilian life, particularly if their military service was of longer duration. It can be even more difficult to adjust for disabled veterans, who may find that they are not able to perform the physical requirements associated with some jobs.
Fortunately, there are non-profit organizations and government agencies around the country which recognize this problem, and offer funding and grants to help veterans acquire the resources needed to start their own small businesses. This article will survey some of the best known funding opportunities available to ex-military personnel wishing to startup their own businesses.
Small Business Grants
The federal government makes grant funding available every year, in different amounts, to each state. These funds are intended for small business owners and startups, with special preference now being given to three primary groupings: native Americans, veterans, and disabled veterans. Additional preference is given to individuals who intend to locate their businesses where there is an existing need in the community, as opposed to a New York City setting, where there might already be a wealth of similar companies, and far less community need. The great thing about this funding source is that it is not a loan in any sense of the word – it is a gift which does not require repayment. It can be just the kind of kickstart a veteran needs to transition into a new career and a new life.
StreetShares is an organization which provides small business loans for veterans to help companies which have survived the crucial one-year startup phase, and are in need of funding for continued growth. StreetShares is committed to making low-cost loans available to veterans or families of veterans, in amounts ranging between $5,000 and $100,000, which can be repaid within three years.
StreetShares also has a unique cash award program which they offer monthly to veteran businessmen. To qualify, it is only necessary to apply online with your own idea for business, background data on your business, how you intend to use the funds, and how your business idea will then affect the community you live in. Applicants are profiled monthly on the StreetShares website so that visitors can vote for the most appealing submissions. Each month, the top three finishers are awarded free-and-clear grants of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000.
VetFran helps veterans and their spouses become involved in franchising opportunities all around the country, with more than 650 different franchise brand possibilities. You can apply at the VetFran website, and you will be contacted and interviewed to determine whether franchising might be a good fit for you. If so, you will be advised about which kinds of franchising opportunities are available, to see if any of them interest you. Discounts, mentoring, training, and other resources are provided to veterans who fit the franchising profile.
SBA Veterans Advantage Loans
This initiative is linked to the government’s Express Loans program, which can expedite loans backed by the federal government of up to $350,000. If you qualify – and a credit score of 680 or better will probably be necessary – you’ll have a response to your application within three days, and you can quickly invest in your small business.
Hivers and Strivers
This is an angel investment group which caters to veteran businesses in their early phases of development, and which are owned/operated by graduates from the Military Academies. Typical first-round investment offerings range between $250,000 and $1 million, with larger sums potentially available from the network of investors involved with the firm.