SBA loan program designed to help veterans go into business

Matt Varilek
Matt Varilek

Our veterans have served our country proudly and bravely. They’re true American heroes, and we must make sure we’re doing everything possible to support them once they re-enter civilian life. 

That’s why for the 2014 fiscal year, the U.S. Small Business Administration has set the borrower upfront guaranty fee to zero for all veteran loans approved during that time under the SBA Express program, which supports loans of up to $350,000. 

This program, called SBA’s Veterans Advantage, is available to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans, active-duty military participating in the Transition Assistance Program, reservists, National Guard members or their spouses or the widowed spouses of service members or veterans who died during service or as a result of service-related disabilities.

Our nation’s veterans are highly skilled and highly trained leaders in their communities. So it makes sense that after serving their country, veterans would become entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our job at the SBA is to make sure veterans and their families have the tools and capital they need to start and grow businesses. 

Of all SBA loans that go to veteran–owned businesses, 73 percent are $350,000 and below.  The SBA Express program remains the SBA’s most popular loan delivery method, with nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans over the past decade being approved through the program.

Since the program’s inception, it has also been one of the most popular delivery methods for getting capital into the hands of veteran–owned businesses.

Earlier this fall, we also announced that for FY 2014, the upfront guaranty fee on all 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less would be set at zero. These initiatives make the loans cheaper for the borrower, another way SBA serves small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

SBA is dedicated to helping veterans, providing them access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported a total of $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. Since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled. In Colorado last year we supported more than $42 million in veterans loans, and we expect a solid pace this year with the new loan program.

We strive to support veterans and members of the military in as many ways as possible. That’s why SBA also supports a direct working capital loan program for small businesses with an essential employee who is a military reservist called to active duty.  These Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide funds so these small businesses can cover operating expenses the company would have been able to cover had the essential employee not been called to active duty.  This way our brave men and women in uniform don’t have to choose between serving their country or growing their communities.

 I’m proud the SBA supports our veteran entrepreneurs. We look forward to continuing to reach out to them through our 68 field offices across the country, including offices in Colorado and on the Western Slope.