The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses increased by 14% last year, marking a continued upward trend for entrepreneurs in the military community. In fiscal year 2023, the agency provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran companies, reflecting an increase of approximately 40% in funding and 33% in total loans since 2020.
The growth is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of America’s heroes and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, reducing red tape and expanding its reach to meet the needs of entrepreneurs. SBA Administrator Isabelle Guzman stated that this success reflects the country’s recognition of the vital role that veterans play in our economy and their contributions to our society.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this year directing the SBA to develop more tools to help potential veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses who want to start their own businesses. As part of this effort, the agency has announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to its existing network of 22 locations. These centers will provide training, mentoring, and resources to help veterans navigate the challenges of starting a business.
Guzman attended the opening ceremony of a new VBOC in Long Beach, California earlier this month as part of the agency’s Veterans Day activities. Another center is scheduled to open in Nevada by the end of the month. These centers will serve as hubs for veteran-owned small businesses across the country and offer valuable services such as business planning, marketing strategies, financial management training, and access to capital sources like grants and loans.
In addition to these efforts, the SBA recently launched a new SBA Veteran Business Certification program that connects small businesses owned by disabled veterans with more federal contracting opportunities and expands existing entrepreneurship training programs with a focus on women veterans and disabled veterans. This program recognizes disabled veterans for their unique skills and experiences that make them valuable contributors to our society and encourages them to pursue entrepreneurship opportunities in their communities.
Overall, these initiatives demonstrate how important it is for us as a nation