Service members make great contributions and sacrifices on our nation’s behalf. When it’s time for your next mission, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides customized tools and training to support and empower you through every stage of business ownership. In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we’re highlighting a few SBA programs for transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses.
A key first step for transitioning service members, veterans, or military spouses interested in business ownership is Boots to Business (B2B). Available on military installations worldwide for service members and their spouses, this course covers the fundamentals of business ownership. Boots to Business: Reboot (B2BR) brings the B2B course off installations and into communities for veterans who may not have access to a military base, along with National Guard and Reserve members, and spouses.
B2B has been a launchpad for many aspiring military and veteran entrepreneurs. For example, after taking the B2B course, U.S. Army veteran Jeremy Boucher and his wife Dr. Kristen Boucher were able to turn their brewing hobby into a small business. They now own Split Fin Brewing in Midway, Georgia. To get started learning the essentials of business ownership, you can find the class schedule for B2B and B2BR here.
SBA resource partners, including Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), offer expert counseling and training to business owners, with help available remotely. VBOCs are highly familiar with the military business community’s values, strengths, and needs, and can connect you with key resources.
One military spouse who worked with her local VBOC to grow her business is Terra Smith, owner of DocTerra Mobile Veterinary Services in Vale, North Carolina. Terra reached out to her local VBOC at Fayetteville State University for help gaining access to capital as she launched her mobile veterinary clinic. The VBOC walked Terra, whose husband is a Marine veteran, through the steps of applying for an SBA-guaranteed loan through a community lender.
The SBA is also here for business owners in the military community when the unexpected happens. Like many small businesses, veteran owned businesses have been hit hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic. and we’re continuing to offer disaster relief options to help.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), for instance, is an SBA-backed loan that helps small businesses keep their employees on payroll during the pandemic. Borrowers may be eligible for forgiveness. Air Force veteran Tom McMahon – owner of Washington, D.C. gift shop Urban Dwell – is just one of the veteran business owners who have kept their businesses afloat with help from the PPP. The SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies, microlenders, Community Development Financial Institution, and Minority Depository Institutions until May 31 or until remaining funds are exhausted.
The SBA is also offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to provide economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. EIDL is available through December 31.
Beyond pandemic relief, the SBA offers several other disaster relief programs, including the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL). If one of your essential employees is a military reservist and that person gets called to active duty, you can apply for MREIDL to help with eligible expenses.
As a member of the military, you’ve served our country. As you transition to entrepreneurship, let us serve you.