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Financing Tips for Veterans Starting a Small Business

Starting a small business is the perfect career option for many veterans after leaving active duty. Of course, veterans naturally face a couple of the same hurdles that any other prospective small-business owners do: a lack of information, and a lack of financial resources.

Fortunately, government organizations and private businesses alike offer some veteran-specific financing programs to get the ball rolling. Plus, the Small Business Administration and a few other organizations provide information, training and other services to make sure you’re well-equipped to build and grow your new small business.

Here’s a look at some of the help available to you if you’re a veteran who wants to start your own company:

Grants and Other Funding

SBA Veterans Advantage: The U.S. Small Business Administration currently offers SBA Express loans of up to $350,000 that guarantee a response within 36 hours. While loans of between $150,001 to $350,000 carry a guaranty fee of three percent, the SBA Veterans Advantage program knocks out that fee for small businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by qualifying veterans, which includes active-duty military service members eligible for the Transition Assistance Program, active reservists, honorably discharged veterans and more. It also halves the guaranty fee for non-SBA Express loans between $150,001 and $500,000. This program runs through Sept. 30, 2017. Click here to learn more about these loans.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses: Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL): MREIDL loans of up to $2 million are available to small businesses that suffer “economic injury” if a reservist that’s considered an essential employee is called into active duty. These funds can be used for “ordinary and necessary operating expenses,” but don’t cover things like lost profits. Click here to learn more about this program.

Hivers and Strivers: This “angel” investment group connects investors with start-up companies founded by U.S. military academy graduates. The group says that it typically invests anywhere between $250,000 to $1 million in a single round of financing, though larger rounds are possible through joint investments with other groups. In addition to financing, Hivers and Strivers’ members can provide counsel and even act as board members. Click here to learn more about Hivers and Strivers.

Street Shares: StreetShares is an online platform that provides several funding options, such as smaller simple-term loans for as little as $2,000 and contract financing for up to $500,000. The company procures the money for financing in a number of ways, though most interesting are “Veteran Business Bonds,” which offer individuals 5% fixed interest, with the proceeds of the bonds going toward funding veteran-owned small-business loans.


The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD): The OVBD is a do-it-all resource for would-be and current veteran business owners alike. The OVBD not only offers programs like the Boots to Business entrepreneurial training program, and helps veterans procure funding for business opportunities, but it champions the cause more broadly by communicating with the veteran community and providing policy reporting and analysis.

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE): This is a training program for female veterans and spouses/partners that helps them “find their passion and learn the business savvy skills necessary to turn an idea or start-up into a growing venture,” complete with online coursework, an in-person event and additional ongoing training and support. V-WISE is operated by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

The National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP): This organization operates a number of free programs – typically in the Washington, D.C., area – that helps veteran small business owners earn federal contracts.

American Corporate Partners (ACP): American Corporate Partners is known for its yearlong, one-on-one corporate mentoring programs to post-9/11 veterans, via partners including AT&T, Intel and UBS. However, the nonprofit also offers a women’s veterans mentoring program, launched in 2016, as well as an online career Q&A community.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP): The VEP is an online portal that helps connect veterans with information about everything in the small business spectrum, from starting up a company, expanding your business and accessing financing.

McManamon & Co.: McManamon & Co. is a wide-ranging firm that provides accounting, consulting and tax services, among others, to small- and midsize businesses. Our professionals not only deliver the expertise that a potential entrepreneur needs to get off the ground – and expand once they do – but we can help you procure the numerous resources available to give veterans the edge they need to succeed.

If you’re a veteran and you’re either interested in starting a small business, or you already own a business and want assistance with your accounting, call McManamon & Co. at 440.892.8900, or get in touch with us online.

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