After serving our country, veterans deserve our respect. They also deserve our thanks. One way to thank them for their service is by offering them opportunities once they leave the service.
Veterans are an important part of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Census Bureau says that over 7% of the U.S. economy comes from veteran-owned businesses.
If you are a veteran interested in starting your own business, there is help available to you. There is a wide array of grants for veterans to assist them in starting a business.
Consider one of these 13 grant opportunities if you are a veteran looking to become a business owner/entrepreneur.
1. VA Small Business Grants
The advantage of this grant is that it is a grant and therefore, does not have to be paid back. It allows a veteran to get their nonprofit idea up and running. Veterans seeking this aide will want to be careful the stick to the strict guidelines for the use of the grant money.
Department of Veterans Affairs Small Business Grants do allow a veteran with an idea for the nonprofit business to get funding to get it going. Often that startup money is key to the success of the company.
2. Hivers and Strivers Angel Fund
Are you a graduate of a military academy with a startup idea? This program offers startup funds from between $250,000 and $1 million to academy graduates to get their business off the ground. Hivers and Strivers also work in conjunction with other programs if more funds are needed.
The camaraderie of being a part of the academy and all that is learned is supported through this program. Learn more info on the Challenge Coin and how an academy based startup company might want to integrate them into their business model.
3. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small-Business Program
The program is available through the government’s Small Business Administration. This program helps veterans’ owned companies get government contracts worth up to $5 million.
Two pieces of criteria are necessary to be eligible. First, 51% of the company has to owned by the participating veteran. Second, the veteran must have a service-related disability to be available. The disability would need to be identified using the Department of Veterans Affairs criteria.
4. Boots to Business
Boots to business is free and offered in two steps. Provided by the government’s Small Business Administration to veterans who want to be entrepreneurs. It provides education and training in two phases.
Participants get a two-day course followed by an 8-week online course. Included in the training is how to write a business plan.
5. VA Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
While this program does not offer any loan or grant money, it does offer something almost as equally valuable. To veterans who are also economically disadvantaged, it gives access to government contracts.
While not a traditional grant-like opportunity, it could be a huge windfall for a business looking to get going. The Department of Veterans Affair and their coordinating Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Program align the veterans’ based businesses with the government contracts to help fuel the business.
6. Street Shares Foundation
Street Shares, an online lender, is working with JP Morgan to offer grants to veterans and they have a lot of valuable information on their blog for veterans, and small businesses. For example, they have provided $10,000 total to three eligible veterans interested in starting a business.
They will use criteria like the idea’s strength and the business’s impact on the veterans’ community to select winners. The grants are available to reserve or active-duty members, military-spouse small-business owners and eligible veterans.
7. Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL)
This is a program geared towards the veteran who has started the business and also remains on reserve status. If the veteran is called back into active duty, this program provided loans to the company to sustain itself while the veteran is off on active duty.
This provides the veterans owned business with the necessary capital to pay its bills while the veterans are away. A company could qualify for up to $2 million in support based on criteria from the Small Business Association.
8. Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Offered at Syracuse University, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families or IVMF helps veterans in several ways. Knowing that the key to success is knowledge, they offer education and training for veterans interested in pursuing a business opportunity.
They also take advantage of several well-known initiatives for teaching and guiding veterans in the business world. These programs include:
- Boots to Business program
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities (EBV)
- Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship program
Participants will learn about how to finance their business and gain capital to get it off the ground.
9. Lending Club Veteran Club
This is a private, non-government, based program. If you are a veteran who has already started a business and wants to grow this might be just the right fit.
Lending Club offers between $5,000 and $300,000 for between 1 and 5-year terms. The business needs to already show a profit margin of at least $50,000 to be eligible. But these kinds of funds could greatly help a small business grow into something much more significant.
10. Veteran Women Igniting The Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Veteran Women Igniting The Spirit of Entrepreneurship or V-Wise is available to female veterans. The program hopes to support female veterans into entrepreneurship through a three-step plan.
The program has a small initial fee, and it offers a course online followed by a three-day intensive course. The real support comes after that with continued mentorship, training and launch ideas for the female veterans to get their business off the ground.
11. Nav’s Small Business Grant
This $10,000 “Legitify Your Small Business” grant is available to help veterans start and finance their business idea. The startup money is intended to help veterans get their idea off the ground. They work with your credit profile to help you obtain the funding needed to get going.
12. SBA Veterans Advantage 7(a) Loan
If you are a veteran looking for ways to garner capital for your business, this is one popular option. The Small Business Association offers this loan to veterans. The nice feature is that it provides longer terms on the loans.
During most Small Business Association Loans require some upfront money. The 7(a) loan is available to qualifying veterans with no money upfront for up to $125,000.
13. Warrior Rising
This grant came to be from a group of combat veterans. They look to support the entrepreneurial ideas of fellow veterans who want to start a business. They do this by:
- Offering start-up grants
- One-to-one mentorship
The nonprofit also looks to link veterans starting out with fellow business-minded veterans in their community for support and guidance.
Best Grants For Veterans To Be Their Own Boss
Are you a veteran with an idea for a business? One of these grants for veterans might be what you need to get your idea off the ground. Like we thank you for your service, maybe one of these grants will also help to grow your business too.