This week, in the lead up to Veterans Day, the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) has been celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week, an initiative on the part of the SBA to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and business owners. We owe our nation’s veterans a debt of gratitude for their service, and we also know that as a result of their service and training, veterans are well-positioned to be successful entrepreneurs and small business owners as they transition from their military career to working as a civilian.
That’s why I’m so excited to announce a new initiative on the part of the SBA that will help get more small business loans into the hands of veterans. Today we’re letting folks know that starting January 1 and for the rest of the fiscal year, we’ll be setting the borrower upfront fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express program, which supports loans of up to $350,000.
Our nation’s veterans are highly-skilled and highly-trained leaders in their communities, and so it makes sense that after serving their country veterans would become entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our job at the SBA is to make sure that veterans have the tools and capital they need to start and grow a business.
Of all SBA loans that go to veterans, 73 percent are $350,000 and below. The SBA Express Loan Program, which supports loans under $350,000, is SBA’s most popular loan delivery method, with nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans over the past decade being authorized through the program. Since the program’s inception, it has also been one of the most popular delivery methods for getting capital into the hands of veteran borrowers.
This announcement also comes not long after we announced that for FY 2014, fees on loans for $150,000 and under are set to zero. These initiatives make the loans cheaper for the borrower, another way SBA is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.
I couldn’t be more proud of our nation’s veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners and the SBA commitment to helping those who have tirelessly served our country. We provide veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. And since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.
It’s been wonderful participating in SBA’s Veterans Small Business Week events throughout the week. Our staff on the ground has been working with partner organizations on educational efforts, mentoring, and trainings to make sure veterans have the tools they need to start or grow their business—because it is the least we can do for those who have served.
We thank our veterans for their commitment to our country and way of life. SBA fully supports our veteran entrepreneurs and looks forward to continuing to reach out to them through our 68 field offices across the country.