Our friend Hardy Stone at VetLikeMe.org offers some great loan advice here. In Session 6 of Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors we discuss the different funding sources that military entrepreneurs can use. This concise article lists a few more for veterans. Understanding these sources and those offered by the SBA and others will help you determine the funding source that is right for you. We will discuss this again in class.
Hardy writes---What is a VA business loan?
A veteran business loan is available through multiple sources and can be any type of financing that veteran entrepreneurs receive, which are usually accompanied by business development tools. This debt financing can be used to gear veteran entrepreneurs in helping them grow their businesses.
Because of their time in the service, they often don’t have the kind of capital that is needed to start or grow a small business, which can involve opening new locations, hiring new employees and so on. Like many business owners, they need access to viable funding options.
In this guide, I’ll go over several ways a veteran-owned business can get financing in 2018.
Who is eligible to receive VA loans?
Before we go into the ways a veteran entrepreneur can get a VA business loan, let me explain exactly who is eligible for this kind of financing. Any veteran, active military personnel or service-disabled veteran is eligible to receive a VA loan. But, a veteran who received any kind of dishonorable discharge won’t be able to apply for the loan program I will explain below. However, if you are an active duty personnel or a retiree and within a predetermined timeframe from the date of separation or retirement, you may still be able to qualify for the Patriot Express Loan Program. Wives and widows of service members, along with National Guard and Reservists, are eligible for this as well.
A veteran must hold at least 51% ownership of the business to be eligible. As long as that criteria is met, almost any business can get some sort of financing or credit unless the business is a pyramid scheme or involved in either gambling or lending. Nonprofit businesses are also ineligible for these types of loans.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and go over the ways you can get the financing you need for your business.
Starting Your Veteran Business Loan Search
With over 2.52 million businesses majority-owned by veterans as of the 2012 U.S. census, they make up a very prominent number in the world of small businesses.
And, like any other business owners, veterans require the necessary funds to start and grow their businesses. A major reason many veterans struggle to even start their businesses, however, is because they don’t get the business financing they require. Luckily, there are several organizations dedicated to making the dreams of the people who really deserve it come true.
Where To Get Veteran Business Loans
Here are some programs offer business loans specifically for veteran-owned businesses.
Shreetshares is an online financing marketplace built and run by veterans for veterans with small businesses. This platform connects veteran entrepreneurs with the right investors who can provide financing for their small businesses.
They have a simple application process to ensure applicants get the right investors for their businesses. They also offer pre-approvals within a matter of minutes, which can be a huge plus.
2. Military Reservist Economic Injury Loans
As mentioned above, this program is also not for all veterans. If you don’t fit into this program’s criteria, there are still other programs that might just be the right fit for you.
3. Veterans Business Fund
This is an up-and-coming organization that offers various funding options for veterans. The only downside is that Veterans Business Fund doesn’t plan to cover the full amount. Rather, they will support any other loans you may have. They are not accepting applications just yet but are actively pursuing funding by way of donations with hopes to get the operation off the ground soon.
4. Hivers and Strivers
This is an angel investment group focused on providing early-round funding for startups. The only catch here is that you must be a graduate of a U.S. military academy in order to qualify.
As you can see there, are many options for veterans to obtain loans needed to start their businesses or get them back into solid financial shape. United, we support our troops.