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Thankfully, small business loans for veterans are now a real possibility.
You have served your country and now you are looking to start the next phase of your life as a business owner. Finding the capital to actually get your business up and running can sometimes be difficult. However, the government can and will provide assistance in the form of VA business loans for qualifying veterans.
There are two primary criteria for determining whether or not you qualify for VA small business loans: service and the amount you can personally invest in your business.
Second, you must own and finance at least 15% of the business yourself. This number does not change if you happen to have disability status.
One thing to bear in mind is that the Department of Veterans Affairs will not directly be financing your loans. They will be serving as a kind of guarantor and liaison between you and the lender.
A benefit to you for obtaining VA business loans is that these loans often offer a lower interest rate than traditional small business loans. These loans also have more flexible terms than most conventional loans. For example, there are cases where the entire loan can be forgiven or payments deferred depending on the reason(s) which is generally not possible with the traditional loan.
The Veterans Administration began offering business loans in 1999 under the Business Development Act which was established to help make big loans available to military veterans. You will have to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in order to apply and receive your veterans business loans.
A huge benefit to new business owners is that the Veterans Administration and the SBA will help provide you training and assistance to actually get the business started. This is something that is not available to all new startup business owners. As a veteran you can also utilize the Veteran Business Outreach Program. This program connects you with an experienced military veteran business owner in your area.
Going in prepared, just like any non-vet entrepreneur, is the real key to success. Get your business plan in order, ready for instant presentation. Be sure to address questions like:
By presenting a strong business plan, you’ll be in an outstanding position to guarantee you qualify for VA business loans when you are serious about starting your own business and being your own boss.
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Author of "Growing Up Absurd" and others
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