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Business Loans for Veterans

Like all businesses, veteran-owned businesses need funding from time to time. Whether it be for expansion or to help with unexpected business emergencies, business funding is important to have access to.

 

With veterans having a majority ownership in over 2.45 million businesses throughout the U.S. (a whopping 9% of all U.S. firms, or 1 out of every 10), veterans make up a huge portion of the U.S. economy. In fact, over 1.2 trillion dollars huge.

 

Despite this, until recently, a lack of funding programs made it difficult for veterans to start new businesses or assist during rough patches in the business life cycle.

 

In addition, gaps in credit history due to service can make it difficult for veterans to be approved for funding.

 

Fortunately, business loans for veterans are now easier to obtain than ever, with several programs having now been created to assist veterans in obtaining small business loans.

 

What is a veteran small business loan (AKA VA small business loan)?

 

If you’ve been searching around for options, it’s important to understand something first: a veteran small business loan simply refers to a business loan which has features specifically geared towards helping veterans grow their business.

 

It’s not a specific type of loan, however, there are specific programs, like the SBA’s Veterans Advantage program, that have been created to make certain loans more advantageous for veterans.

 

Because of this, no matter what you need funds for, there’s a business loan for veterans like you to help you grow your business.

 

Whether it’s for:

 

  • Marketing & advertising
  • New hires and training
  • Emergency cash flow
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Materials
  • Or virtually anything else

 

Below, we’ll cover government programs for veteran entrepreneurs, the best business loan options available to veterans looking to grow their business, and give you all the information you need to take full advantage of the associated programs.

 

Business loans for veterans: Veteran SBA loans and the Veterans Advantage lending program

 

 

When it comes to programs for growing your business as a veteran, you’ve got several great options. Business loans for veterans, in particular,

The Small Business Administration’s Veterans Advantage lending program (or simply VA business loan program) is a program that makes business loans for veterans more advantageous by offering a special fee reduction on their SBA loans.

 

The Veterans Advantage lending program removes or reduces fees for SBA loans and guarantees a portion of the loan in case of default depending on the size:

 

  1. $125,000 loan or less: Upfront fees eliminated, 85% loan guarantee
  2. $150,001 to $350,000: Upfront fees reduced by 50%, 75% loan guarantee

 

Keep in mind that SBA loans aren’t offered directly by the Small Business Association. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We can work with you to get your business the funds it needs with an SBA loan.

 

For more information on SBA loans click here or, to see how much you could be approved for, submit a short application to find out here.

 

How to get approved for a VA small business loan

 

Every year, the SBA supports nearly $2 billion in loans for veteran-owned small and mid-sized businesses, with that amount increasing each year.

 

But how do you know if you’re eligible? And what documentation will you need to get approved? That’s exactly what we’ll cover next.

 

VA small business loan: How do I know if I’m eligible?

 

Eligibility for the veteran SBA loans is pretty straightforward. However, keep in mind that your business must be 51% or more owned by you or you plus any partners, assuming they’re also veterans.

 

Having said that, there are two tiers of eligibility you’ll need to meet to take advantage of the Veterans Advantage SBA loan program.

 

First, to eligible for an SBA loan you need basic business requirements to be in order:

 

  • Must base for-profit operations in the United States
  • Must demonstrate an equity investment in the business before requesting government help
  • Cannot be delinquent on taxes or any other debts to the federal government
  • Cannot be involved in certain financial, political, or members-only activities

 

Second, to qualify as a veteran you must fit into one of these categories based on the official va.gov website:

 

  • Veterans (other than dishonorably discharged)
  • Service-disabled veterans
  • Active duty military service member participating in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Reservists and National Guard embers
  • Current spouse of any veteran, active duty service member, or any reservist or National Guard member
  • Or a widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability.

 

Provided you fit into one of the above categories and you own 51% or more of your business, you’re good to go.

 

VA small business loan: What documentation do I need?

 

Now that we’ve got qualifications all checked off, let’s cover the documentation necessary to apply for a VA small business loan with Excel Capital

 

First, to apply for an SBA loan you typically need:

 

 

Second, depending on what category of veteran you fall under, you’ll need a different piece of documentation to prove your status as a veteran:

 

  • Veteran: Form DD 214
  • Service-disabled veteran: Form DD 214 OR documentation from the DVA that the veteran has been determined as having a service-connected disability.
  • Current spouse of veteran: Spouse’s Form DD 214 and proof of status as spouse.
  • Transitioning active duty military member: Form DD 2, active Armed Forces ID Card, or Armed Forces of the United States Geneva Conventions ID as well as Form DD 2648 or DD Form 2648-1.
  • Current spouse of transitioning active duty military member or current reserve or National Guard member: Form DD 1173, Department of Defense Guard Reserve Family Member ID, and proof of status as spouse.
  • Widow of active duty service member who died in service OR Widowed spouse of veteran who died of a service connected disability: Documented proof from the DOD or DVA.
  • Reservists and National Guard: Form DD 2, Armed Forces of the United States ID.

 

To apply for a VA small business loan with Excel Capital, click here to fill out a short, 3-minute application to find out your funding options.

 

Additional resources for growing your business as a veteran entrepreneur

 

In addition to the aforementioned government-supported incentive programs, there are additional programs you should be aware of to help veteran entrepreneurs grow their business.

 

Here are a few of those such programs:

 

Veteran-owned small business (VOSB)

 

The veteran-owned small business program (or VOSB for short) was instituted by the U.S. government and carried out by Veteran Affairs (VA) to encourage participation and provide contracting priority for veteran-owned small businesses.

 

In short, the program helps VOSBs get first-dibs at lucrative business contracts across several industries.

 

Service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB)

 

The service-disabled veteran-owned small business program is essentially the same as the VOSB program, however, the SDVOSB program holds priority over even the VOSB.

 

If you’re a service-disabled veteran who owns or is starting your own business, it’s important to keep this program in mind as the program can be a big boon particularly in the early days of your business.

 

Other VA options

 

In addition to the VOSB and SDVOSB programs, there are several other programs that, while not exclusive to veterans, you may be able to take advantage of.

 

Programs include:

 

  • 8(a) Business Development Program
  • Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program
  • Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program
  • Small and Disadvantaged Business Program
  • Small Business Program Goals and Accomplishments
  • Small Business Set-Asides
  • Non-Manufacturer Rule
  • Small Business Subcontracting Plans and Goals
  • Government Contracting

 

For more information on taking advantage of the VOSB, SDVOSB, and other programs above, visit va.gov.

 

How to register your service-disabled veteran-owned business with the VA

 

It can be a bit confusing figuring out to get started with the programs we mentioned above, particularly the SDVOSB program, so we thought we’d include some basic instructions to get you started:

1. Review your business, patch holes: As part of the process of getting approved for the VOSB and SDVOSB programs, the VA will review your business in several areas, particularly making sure you’ll be able to fulfill the contract work they send you. Make sure your process is running smoothly and that you have a clear mission statement, relevant organizational charts, and any relevant partnership agreements on hand

2. Register at VetBiz: Create an account at VetBiz on the Vendor Information page.

3. Obtain your military service records: You’ll need this to prove you’re service-disabled. You may also need a letter from the VA confirming your service-disabled status.

 

Keep in mind that you must own 51%+ of your business to be eligible for the VOSB or SDVOSB programs.

 

Now that you’ve applied with the VA, all that’s left to do is wait. The review process can take some time for reasons stated above, so it’s important to get this done as soon as possible so that the VA can get the ball rolling.

 

To apply for a VA small business loan with Excel Capital, click here to fill out a short, 3-minute application to find out your funding options.

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