Recognizing the difficulty and stumbling blocks that military veterans have encountered in obtaining working capital to start a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is taking action to ease access to start-up cash.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills on Tuesday announced the launch of the SBA Veterans Pledge Initiative at a press conference at Fort Bragg, N.C. The initiative includes an agreement among the agency’s top lenders nationwide to increase lending to veteran entrepreneurs by five percent each year for the next five years.
According to an SBA press release published May 21 in conjunction with the announcement, the $475 million in lending increases pledged by the SBA’s top 120 national, regional and community lending partners is projected to help some 2,000 veterans start or expand their businesses. The capital earmarked for veterans is especially critical for those who have not been able to secure capital from traditional commercial sources.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in the press statement, “[W]e stand ready to serve veteran entrepreneurs with loan guarantees, entrepreneurial training, and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive the local economy and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”
According to SBA figures, veterans represent nine percent of all small business ownership. There are 2.45 million businesses owned by veterans, and those ventures employ more than 5 million people. The SBA says that in the private sector, a veteran is more likely to be self-employed or a business owner than those workers who have not served active duty in the military.
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of SBA’s highest priorities,” said Mills.
The SBA said its Veterans Pledge Initiative will serve to complement existing veterans programs such as the SBA partnership with the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) VetLoan Advantage. The program provides training and loan discounts for those veterans who own or want to start a small business. Veterans can also access SBA support through the agency’s regional offices, a nationwide network 15 Veterans Outreach Centers, and numerous SBA partner organizations.
Byrne, Dennis. SBA.gov; “SBA Announces New Initiative with Top Lenders To Help Veterans Become Entrepreneurs”. 5/21/13
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