Overview: VA Small Business Loans for Veterans


If you’ve served in the military and are interested in starting your own business, you may not realize that there are certain veterans’ benefits that you can take advantage of, like a VA small business loan.

Personal or business loans for veterans is one of the many benefits provided by the U.S. government to those who have served their country, and veterans also often get special offers from other funding organizations as well.

As a veteran or service-disabled veteran, you have a number of veteran business loans to choose from that you can use to get a jump start on your new business venture.

In this article, we will take a look at small business loans for veterans, where you can go to find them, and how to get a VA business loan.

We will also provide details on other business related tools and resources that you can access along with veteran small business grants and franchise discounts.

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First, we will give an overview of the organizations that offer a veteran small business loan; then, we will drill down into each of the VA small business loan programs that are offered.

We’ll also provide information on where you can apply, and we’ll review other entrepreneurial tools that you can access to learn everything you need to know about starting a new business.

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Veteran Business Loans | Where You Can Go

Veterans that are starting a business and looking for small business loans for veterans and small business loans for disabled veterans have several places they can go to apply. You have options to get a VA small business loan with both government and private lending programs.

Here is an overview of some of the options:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Hivers & Strivers
  • The Veterans’ Opportunity Fund
  • Street Shares
  • Bunker Labs
  • PNC SBA Financing
  • Grant Watch
  • CRF Connect2Capital

With several options available for small business loans for veterans, you’ll want to take a close look at the qualifications and application guidelines to compare each one. So next, we’ll take a look at the types of loans for veterans each of the above provide.

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Image Source: SBA.gov



Small Business Administration Veteran Business Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a number of business loans for veterans. Whether you are a veteran or service-disabled veteran, the SBA has multiple resources to help you start and grow a new small business.

Their veteran small business loan options include:

SBA Veterans Advantage: Guarantees loans for veterans or military spouses with businesses owned during fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016). They receive the benefit of its regular guaranty fee reduced by 50%, when the loan is over $150,000. In order to qualify, businesses must be 51% or more owned and controlled by one of the below:

  • A veteran (other than dishonorably discharged)
  • A service-disabled veteran
  • Active duty military participating in the Transition Assistance Program
  • Reservist or National Guard member
  • The current spouse of a service member or widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service

SBA Express Loan (also known as Patriot Express): This type of VA small business loan features an accelerated turnaround time for an SBA loan review, usually within 36 hours. For SBA Express loans approved on or after October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 to businesses owned by a veteran and/or the spouse of a veteran, the up-front guaranty fee is waived.

More details on the SBA business loans for veterans can be found on their website or by contacting a local field office.

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Hivers & Strivers Veteran Small Business Grants

Hivers & Strivers is an angel investment group that focuses on early stage investments to support new companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. Military Academies. They feel that providing small business loans for veterans will provide superior returns and encourage their entrepreneurial spirit.

They typically invest from $250,000 to $1,000,000 in a single round and can actively look to syndicate deals with other investment groups if more funding is needed. You can apply for funding on their website by submitting an applicaton for veteran business loans.

The Veterans’ Opportunity Fund Veteran Small Business Loan

The Veterans’ Opportunity Fund by TCP Venture Capital offers another way to find small business loans for disabled veterans and business loans for veterans of all types.  The fund is a multi-stage venture capital fund formed specifically to invest in veteran-owned businesses, and they are investing up to $3,000,000 in those companies.

They are mainly East Coast-focused and target technology companies. They fund at the “early revenue or have a product or service that can be evaluated” stage. You can submit your business for loans for veterans here on their website.



StreetShares VA Small Business Loan

StreetShares offers loans or lines of credit up to $100,000.  They are proudly veteran owned and run and offer special veteran business loans. They offer an easy and fast qualification process where you can see in minutes if you are approved; then, there is no obligation unless you accept the loan. They offer 3- to 36-month term loans and have a free application process.

Bunker Labs Small Business Loans for Veterans

Bunker Labs was founded in 2014 and is a national not-for-profit program to support veteran entrepreneurs. In addition to offering education, training, and a mentor network, they also have an investor network composed of angel investors and institutional-lending partners for veteran business loans. You can find out more about how to get a VA business loan through their network by contacting them here



PNC SBA Financing for a VA Small Business Loan

PNC Bank has a long history of helping their veteran business customers match their financing needs with the SBA lending program. This is another way to access the U.S. Small Business Administration business loans for veterans. The benefits of qualifying for the SBA veteran business loans through PNC include:

  • Easier loan qualifications
  • Lower down payment requirements
  • Early payoffs welcome

You can ask them about the SBA Veterans Advantage loan here.

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Grant Watch Veteran Small Business Grants

GrantWatch.com is a site where you can access grants not only for veteran businesses, but also for homes and home improvements. This is a website where new information is posted often, so you’ll want to bookmark it and check it often. Some of the veteran small business grants are geographically based and others are not. This website is fee based, so in order to read through the details of the grant offers, you have to sign up. Their smallest package is for $18 for one week of complete access.

CRF Connect2Capital Small Business Loans for Veterans

CRF is a non-profit lender that offers special veteran small business loan programs. Some interesting facts that they share on their website include that veterans are 45 percent more likely than non-veterans to start their own business and that veteran entrepreneurs are responsible for nearly one out of every 10 small businesses.

Some of the veteran business loans benefits they offer are:

  • Larger loans, from $50,000 to $4,000,000
  • Longer loan terms, as high as 25 years
  • Lower interest rates, Prime plus 2.75%
  • Low down payments, as low as 10%

You can apply for a VA small business loan here on their site.

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Image Source: Franchise.7-Eleven.com



Discounts on Franchises for Veterans

While a franchise discount may not be exactly the same as small business loans for veterans, they can mean just as much when you save tens of thousands of dollars on starting a new business. There are quite a few well-known franchises that offer discounts to veterans. Here are a few of them:

  • The UPS Store: Veterans save $10,000 off the franchise fee and receive an additional 50% off their initial application fee.
  • Little Caesars: Veterans get a $5,000 reduction of the franchise fee on a restaurant and  a $5,000 credit on their initial supply order. Disabled veterans are eligible for waiver of the full $20,000 franchise fee and a $10,000 credit on the initial supply order.
  • Valpak: Veterans can have their startup costs (which start at $32,500) waived 100% and receive help in obtaining operating capital. Valpak also has relationships with third-party financing entities to help facilitate loans for veterans.
  • 7-Eleven: Veterans save up to 20% off the initial franchise fee (savings up to a maximum of $50,000). They can also get up to 65% financing through 7-Eleven and get special veteran financing.
  • Batteries + Bulbs: Veterans can save $10,000 off the franchise fee in select markets.
  • Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: Veterans receive a 50% discount on the initial franchise fee of $30,000.

As you can see, there are multiple opportunities to get a nice discount on a new business franchise, and many companies also offer veteran business loans as well to help get you started successfully. You can find a full list of franchise discount possibilities in Military Times Best for Vets: Franchises 2016 List.

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Other Veteran Benefits for Entrepreneurs

In addition to the many small business loans for veterans, there are many training and mentoring programs that are available to both veterans and disabled veterans to help them get a fresh start with their new business. Here are a few of those that you can take advantage of, either before or after you apply for a VA small business loan:

  • Boots to Business: An entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the Small Business Administration as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program.
  • EBV National Program: Offers cutting edge training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities and their family members.
  • SCORE Veteran Fast Launch Initiative: A leader in providing training and mentoring to entrepreneurs through its network of 13,000 volunteers. Their Veteran Fast Launch initative includes free software and services combined with their mentoring program.
  • V-Wise: They are committed to women veterans by providing them the tools to become successful entrepreneurs. They provide educational training and mentorship.

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Veteran Business Loans Recap

For military members who are moving into the civilian world to begin their own businesses, there are quite a few opportunities for loans for veterans.

You can choose to use a government-offered Small Business Association VA small business loan or try one of the many angel investing groups that offer small business loans for veterans that are offered because they believe in them and their entrepreneurial spirit.

There are also multiple opportunities for big discounts if you are interested in a franchise opportunity; many well-known corporations value veterans who have served our country, appreciate their hard work ethic and want to see them succeed.

You can save tens of thousands of dollars and have the opportunity for veteran business loans, too, if you wish to go that route for your new business.

We hope that this article has helped you answer the question of how to get a VA business loan. There are multiple resources for small business loans for disabled veterans as well as business loans for veterans out there to provide the opportunity for success. And in addition to the many VA small business loan options, veterans can also benefit from free mentoring, training, software, and more to get all the support needed for a great business launch.

So if you’re a veteran and thinking of starting a new business, be sure to take advantage of all the tools and veteran business loans at your disposal. Your service is truly appreciated.

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