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From Military Service to Entrepreneur; Tools for the Veteran-Owned Small Business

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From Military Service to Entrepreneur; Tools for the Veteran-Owned Small Business

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: March 10, 2009 Updated: September 3, 2015

Do you have the mindset to be an entrepreneur? Many of our veterans do.

In fact, of the 24 million military veterans in the U.S, four million are small business owners.

Moreover, statistics show that the success rate of these veteran-owned businesses is higher than other startups - perhaps a reflection of the discipline, skills, and leadership experience acquired in military service.

Providing further help, there are a number of tools and services from the SBA, VetBiz and other non-profit organizations specifically designed to help veterans with the formation and expansion of their business ventures.

This following list summarizes some of the general business guides, financing options, incentives, and other resources available to help veteran-owned businesses succeed.

Getting General Business Advice

If you are a current or prospective veteran business owner, familiarize yourself with the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) Web site - here you can find assistance, outreach and support for veterans interested in starting or expanding a small business.

Financing for the Veteran-Owned Small Business

In the past 20 months, the SBA approved more than $250 million in loan guarantees to more than 2,800 veterans and their spouses.

Much of this funding comes from the SBA’s Patriot Express Pilot Loan. Launched in June 2007, the program is a streamlined loan product based on the agency’s SBA Express Program, but enhanced with guaranty and interest rate characteristics.

Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA’s maximum guaranty of up to 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less, and up to 75 percent for loans over $150,000 (up to $500,000).
The loan can be used for business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-related real estate purchases.

For more information about the loan, qualification criteria, and how to get started visit the Patriot Express home page here.

For information about other available loans from the federal government as well as programs in your state, use this government-developed Loans and Grants Search Tool.

Franchising Incentives for Veteran Entrepreneurs

If you want to be your own boss but are wary of the startup risks, buying a franchise offers an appealing alternative.

For veterans considering buying a franchise there are also added incentives. The VetFran program, started by the International Franchise Association, provides financial incentives to veteran franchise buyers that are not available to civilian franchise investors. Some of the 200 participating franchisors waive training fees, others discount franchise fees, but all agree to offer incentives for veterans.

A current list of participating companies and the discounts these franchise systems offer is available on this Web site, www.franchise.org, under 'VetFran Directory.'

If you like the idea of a franchise, make sure to do your research first. This guide provides helpful advice on buying and evaluating a franchise and also includes information on how to avoid common scams.

Doing Business with Your Former Employer - Government Contracting

Many federal agencies and private businesses struggle to find enough veteran-owned businesses to meet their goals and contracting objectives in accordance with PL 106-50. You can find out more about how to become a federal contractor, find business opportunities, and the rules and regulations that federal contractors need to follow on SBA’s Government Contracting Small Business Guide.

You can also find tips about getting started with federal contracting here.

Talk to Other Veteran Business Owners

Last but not least, networking is essential to business growth. Veterans can interact and learn from the wider veteran’s community at events and conferences such as the National Veterans Small Business Conference. But you can also network and learn best practices from other veteran small business owners, query industry experts, and share experiences on community Web sites such as Veteranscorp.org and SCORE’s Veterans Virtual Resource Center and the SBA.gov Community here.

Related Articles

Small Business Guide for Veterans

About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley


It is a small grants hok not, I think it will help many people in the company established businesses. Along with the incentives to make business easy development
btw, I must admit to a certain exasperation with trying to connect with vets. Everyone wants money for a maybe. I've got a great opportunity for a vet with good management experience who knows how to work hard.
Hi Viettran! My father used to be in the army. He was a Entrepreneur...
Everyone can have his owned business. The most important problem: learn the tools from the other person and practice. I thinhk young man is will be more confident after read this artical!
One of my friends in the army is currently in Australia. He has always had an that entrepreneurship about him
My father is a veteran business and also a small shop
They have suffered greatly disadvantaged, SBA has supported thanking them
hi Caron ,I think your writing is very good, thanks for your writing.
tks Last but not least, networking is essential to business growth
Thank you for your effort. A good tip to own a small business


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