Did you know that 50% of all U.S. military veterans who start their own businesses get going with less than $25,000? That’s the report according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). In fact, about two-thirds of those veterans started up with less than $5,000. Those numbers may be reassuring to you, as a vetrepreneur in Cincinnati. After all, the SBA reports that some 2.5 million veterans own businesses in the U.S. That makes for plenty of people who have launched with a modest amount of capital—most of which came from personal or family savings, or from a veteran business loan or credit cards.
4 Programs That Help Veterans Get Their Small Businesses of the Ground
Patriot Boot Camp
Patriot Boot Camp is one program educating veterans and military spouses in high-demand skills such as coding. Focused on supporting aspiring “creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs leading the new economy,” the program offers technology entrepreneurship workshops in locations throughout the country. Participants learn from expert instructors and mentors, network with peers, and learn about opportunities especially for veterans in their field.
Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) offers several unique programs designed specifically to support the entrepreneurial spirit among veterans and military families. So far, the institute has graduated 50,000 new entrepreneurs, helping them learn start-up, management, and growth skills. Check out IVMF’s intensive, experiential Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV). Or, look into the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program, a joint venture of IVMF and the SBA.
Small Business Association
The SBA provides robust support to help you decide if entrepreneurship is for you and to start your business up on the right foot. The website includes checklists, forms, articles and even quizzes to help you get organized and stay organized throughout your business’s early days. In addition, the SBA Veterans Advantage program waives the upfront fees associated with SBA Express Loans—the agency’s most popular loan program for small business owners.
Non-Traditional Lending Marketplaces
If you’ve decided to get started, online lending marketplaces like Lendio provide access to lenders who support veteran-owned small businesses. While traditional financial institutions, like banks, may not be able to consider your military service or transition training as a factor in your loan application, direct lenders can. As a result, you may be able to gain veteran business loan funding through Lendio’s network of more than 75 lenders even if you don’t meet some of the criteria required by traditional financial institutions. A Lendio representative can even walk you through the application process to ensure that all your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
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