Small Business Administration lends hand to veterans

U.S. Small Business AdministrationFebruary 12, 2014 

Our nation’s veterans have served our country proudly and bravely. They are 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, starting Jan. 1, and for the rest of the fiscal year, the U.S. Small Business Administration has set the borrower upfront guaranty fee to zero for all veteran loans that are approved during the timeframe under the SBA Express program, which supports loans of up to $350,000.

That’s right, the guaranty fee is zero.

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

Our research shows that, of all SBA loans that go to veteran–owned businesses, 73 percent are $350,000 or less. The SBA Express Loan Program is our most popular loan delivery method with nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans during the past decade approved through the program.

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

SBA is dedicated to helping veterans. It provides them with access to business counseling and training, business development opportunities through government contracts and capital.

In fiscal year 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. And, since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.

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.

The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster loans provide funds to help cover operating expenses while the essential employee is away on active duty. That way, our brave men and women in uniform don’t have to choose between serving their country or growing their communities.

Our nation’s veterans are highly skilled and highly trained leaders in their communities, so it makes sense that, after they serve their country, veterans can become entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Our job at the SBA is to make sure those veterans and their families have the tools and capital they need to start and grow a business.

As Regional Administrator, I am proud that the SBA fully supports our veteran entrepreneurs. We look forward to continuing to reach out to them through our 68 field offices across the country, including the Seattle District Office.

Calvin W. Goings is a Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Seattle District Office can be reached at 206-553-7310, and the Veteran Business Outreach Center can be reached at 206-324-4330.

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