The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced a 14% increase in federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses in the past year, marking continued growth 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, which is an increase of approximately 40% in funding and 33% in total loan numbers since 2020.
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. As part of these efforts, the agency has already announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to their existing network of 22 sites. SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman attended the opening ceremony of one new VBOC in Long Beach, California earlier this month, with another center set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
The growth in support for veteran-owned small businesses 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. According to Guzman, there are around 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses that employ about 5.5 million Americans – a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce.
In addition to this new VBOC program, the SBA has also launched a new SBA Veteran Business Certification program that 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 can be found on the SBA website.