4 things the Small Business Administration wants veteran entrepreneurs to know

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The first week of November is National Veterans Small Business Week, and Small Business Administration Trustee Isabella Casillas Guzman celebrates America’s veteran-owned businesses.

Part of that celebration was the announcement of the Community Navigator Pilot Program, an SBA-funded initiative that provides $ 100 million in funding to 51 organizations that serve their communities under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) has been chosen as the primary hub for veterans businesses and will support spouses of veterans and military personnel with entrepreneurship training, small business technical assistance, loan preparation, capital preparation , as well as corporate and federal contracts and networks.

But there is more the SBA will do to support veteran-owned businesses, according to Guzman. She told Military.com about some of the efforts of the Small Business Administration.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman speaks at the opening of the National Veterans Resource Center in Syracuse, New York, in November 2021. (Courtesy Syracuse University)

1. Veteran-owned businesses are some of America’s most important entrepreneurs.

Guzman says veterans contribute a lot to the US economy and that the SBA recognizes the contribution and importance of community.

“Veterans are one in 20 employer-based businesses,” she says. “They have a massive contribution to our economy. Four million people are employed by seasoned entrepreneurs, and there are well over 1.75 million across the country. And so they have a disproportionate impact in terms of employment. and communities – often employing other ex-combatants. “

2. The SBA strives to connect with veteran owned businesses and their needs.

“We believe the SBA and government as a whole need to focus on fairness and make sure all of our entrepreneurs can be successful because there are huge market inefficiencies,” Guzman said. “If we cannot enable our entrepreneurs, innovators or small businesses along main streets to reach their full potential and if we are to regain our global competitiveness, we must invest in all of our big ideas from everywhere and from anywhere. or. This is where we see the gaps and where we think the federal government should step in. “

The SBA supports 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) across the country to provide more localized service to veteran-owned businesses. VBOCs provide business training, advice, and resource partner referrals to transitional service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses who are starting businesses or trying to maintain or develop current businesses.

3. There is a new fully funded program to support veteran owned businesses.

The Community browser pilot program operates on a ‘hub and spoke’ model, which means that SBA funding will go to a trusted SBA partner who will deploy trusted advocates to support small businesses hit hard by the pandemic throughout their community.

Veteran-owned businesses will be able to apply through VBOCs such as SBA’s Tier 1 partner, Syracuse University IVMF, which has received $ 5 million in funding to continue supporting these businesses.

4. New legislation would allow direct SBA loans to veteran-owned businesses.

“The biggest problem facing veteran-owned businesses is getting the resources to help people meet the challenges,” Guzman said. “As part of President Build Back Better, the SBA would be able to provide direct loans to small businesses and ensure that we can fund small businesses that need that extra support to be successful. “

Since almost every year since 2016, IVMF’s own research found that access to capital is the biggest barrier to entry for seasoned entrepreneurs. The SBA not only connects veterans with resource partners, it has provided grants and loans for 67 years. Currently, the SBA provides direct loans for disaster relief, but congressional legislation could extend these loans.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, would allocate $ 5 billion to SBA programs, allowing the administration to make direct loans to veteran-owned businesses up to $ 150,000.

– Blake Stilwell can be contacted at blake.stilwell@military.com. It can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell Where on Facebook.

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