American heroes who have served in the military are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship, with federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses seeing a 14% increase last year. This marks a continued trend of growth for entrepreneurs in the military community. According to officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA), over $1.1 billion in support was provided to more than 2,800 veteran companies in fiscal year 2023, reflecting an approximate 40% increase in funding and 33% increase in total loan numbers since 2020.
This growth is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of American heroes and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, reducing red tape, and expanding outreach to meet entrepreneurs’ needs. The SBA estimates that there are around 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses that employ about 5.5 million Americans, a significant portion of the country’s workforce.
In June, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the SBA to develop more tools to assist would-be veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses wanting to start their own businesses. The agency has already announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to their existing network of 22 sites. As part of agency outreach efforts around Veterans Day, SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman attended the opening ceremony of one new center in Long Beach, California earlier this month. Another center is set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
The SBA also recently launched a new SBA Veteran Business Certification program which connects service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with more federal contracting opportunities and expanded existing entrepreneurship training programs with a focus on women veterans and disabled veterans. More information on support services for veteran businesses is available on the SBA website.
Overall, it is clear that veterans are taking advantage of opportunities offered by government agencies like the SBA as they continue on their journey towards self-reliance and economic success through entrepreneurship.