Federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses saw a significant increase of 14% last year, continuing a positive trend for entrepreneurs in the military community, as announced by officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday. In fiscal year 2023, the agency provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran companies. This marks a 40% increase in funding and a 33% rise in total loan numbers since 2020. Notably, from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2020, officials observed declines in these figures.
SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman highlighted that this upward trend is a “testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our American heroes and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, cutting red tape, and broadening our outreach network to meet the needs of entrepreneurs.”
The administration estimates that the United States is home to about 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses, employing approximately 5.5 million Americans. While this constitutes a relatively small portion of the country’s workforce, it holds significant economic importance.
In June, President Joe Biden issued an executive order instructing the SBA to develop additional tools to assist prospective veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses in starting their own businesses. The agency has already announced plans to expand its network of Veteran Business Outreach Centres, adding six new centres to the existing 22 sites.
SBA Administrator Guzman participated in the opening ceremony of a new center in Long Beach, California, earlier this month as part of the agency’s outreach efforts around Veterans Day. Another center is scheduled to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
To further support veteran-owned businesses, SBA officials have introduced the SBA Veteran Business Certification program, connecting service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with increased federal contracting opportunities. Additionally, existing entrepreneurship training programs have been expanded, with a specific focus on women veterans and disabled veterans.
For more information on support services for veteran businesses, interested parties can refer to the SBA website. The administration’s efforts align with broader initiatives to empower and facilitate the success of veteran entrepreneurs in the business landscape.