If you are retiring from the military and thinking about the next chapter in your life, opening a small business can be an attractive option. The Small Business Administration can help you turn your entrepreneurial dream into a reality, offering programs and information specific to military veterans.
SBA resources and assistance for veterans
Before you add the title “entrepreneur” to your resume, you will want to learn more about the resources and assistance available to help veterans get their businesses up and running. Check out the following:
- The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development coordinates outreach to veterans and policy recommendations for SBA assistance.
- SCORE offers one-on-one or team mentoring from volunteer counselors who work in or are retired from business. SCORE also offers free how-to articles, business tools, and electronic newsletters to help you in your venture.
- Small Business Development Centers offer free face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on subjects such as writing business plans, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance and international trade. There are nearly 1,000 service centers and many additional outreach offices in the SBDC network throughout the United States.
- Veterans’ Business Development Officers are available in each district office in every state to help you understand and use the SBA’s programs and services.
- Veterans’ Business Outreach Program provides business training, counseling and mentoring, referrals and technical assistance to eligible veterans.
- Women’s Business Centers are partially funded by the SBA to help women become full partners in economic development through small business ownership.
- Online training is available on the SBA website, offering courses, workshops, information resources, learning tools, and direct access to electronic counseling and other forms of technical assistance.
For National Guard and reserve service members
The SBA offers Guard and reserve members help with business interruptions due to deployments.
- Guard and reserve small business guides, Getting Veterans Back to Business and Balancing Business and Deployment, describe the resources available from the SBA to help veterans restart a business after returning from active duty or prepare a business before mobilization.
- Planning assistance for preparing for and returning from active duty is available through local district offices and the SBA’s resource partners.
Small businesses may need financing because the owner or key employees have been called to active duty. Returning veterans may need financing to expand an existing business or start a new one. The SBA’s loan programs can help provide financing for veterans with small businesses that may not be available through other channels. Contact the SBA to learn about programs such as these:
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Loans help eligible small businesses facing financial needs because an owner or an essential employee was called to active duty. Small businesses may apply for the loan after the key employee receives orders to report for active duty.
- Debt relief such as repayment deferrals, interest-rate reduction and other assistance from an SBA direct or guaranteed loan may be available. Find more information and resources from the Office of Veterans Business Development.
Firms participating in government contracting 8(a)/Small and Disadvantaged Business
If a call to duty requires that the day-to-day management of a company be transferred to a person other than the one to whom the original certification was granted, the transfer will not disqualify the firm from program participation. Visit the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to find out more.
Individuals who are employed by HUBZone and called to military service will continue to be counted as employees when calculating the 35 percent HUBZone residency requirement or determining the firm’s principal office — assuming they continue to be employed by the firm.
Opening a small business may be a big step, but by tapping into the resources above, you can become a veteran entrepreneur.