Small Business Loans for Veterans
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In the past, the federal Patriot Express program and the Veterans Advantage program offered small business loans for veterans. These programs both expired several years ago and were not replaced with alternatives. However, there are still several good small business financing options available to veterans today.
Small Business Loan Options for Veterans
- Military Reservists Economic Injury Loans
- Street Shares
- Hivers And Strivers
- Veteran Business Grants
- Alternative Lending
Veterans are uniquely suited to running and operating a small business. The military gives you the training and discipline you need to be able to accurately assess a situation and exploit it for profit. That’s one of the reasons why providing small business loans to veterans is particularly important in America, as small businesses drive the economy and vets make excellent small business operators. Therefore, providing more small business loans to veterans is a great way to help fuel the local and national economy.
While the government programs to facilitate these loans may no longer exist, that doesn’t mean that others haven’t recognized the opportunity that exists in lending to military veteran small business owners. We’ve put together a list of some of the best options if you’re a veteran and trying to find a small business loan. Read on for the full list!
Veteran Small Business Loan is the Best Solution
If you're looking at a range of different financing options, you may be wondering why a veteran small business loan is the best option. There are plenty of other great financing offerings on the plate – it just depends if you're eligible for them. A veteran small business loan can help you bypass certain restrictions and attain the capital you need to start your business.
In this section of our page, we're going to take a look at why a veteran small business loan might be able to help your business. Take a look at the different points mentioned in this section to help you determine if a veteran small business loan is right for you.
Interest rates can vary drastically depending on the type of loan you apply for. If you apply for the best small business line of credit or a credit card, you may end up paying extortionately high interest rates. This is bad for business – you should look to take advantage of cheaper financing if you have the opportunity.
One of the best things about finding a veteran loan is that the eligibility requirements are typically different. For example, if you obtain a veteran's loan that is backed by the US government, you benefit from the assurances provided by the government guarantee. Because lenders aren't as exposed to as much risk when they lend to government backed clients, they're more likely to provide you with finance – this is the entire purpose of a government backed loan.
Military Reservists Economic Injury Loans
To qualify for this loan, a business must already exist. For veterans or other qualified business owners who employ active-duty personnel, this loan is a viable way to compensate for the loss of a military member who is called up for duty. Active reserve members play a vital role in running and operating many small businesses. They also make up a large number of a small business’s most important staff. After all, the military provides a number of unique skills and talents, and it can be hard to find an individual to replace someone with those talents should they be called away for service.
Loans may be as high as $2 million, and borrowers must be able to prove that they cannot cover the recovery expenses if the individual leaves suddenly. Interest rates are typically low. Most people rate this loan highly for its reasonable fees and attractive interest rates. However, some people were unhappy about the stiff collateral requirements for any loans exceeding $50,000.
Another thing that we liked about this loan is that it helps take away some of the fears that businesses might have when it comes to hiring veterans. The assurance of a relatively cheap loan to help cover the loss of a valuable employee or operator are a great way to help more active reserve veterans get employment when they enter civil life. This employment is one of the biggest keys when it comes to getting back to your career once your service has ended, as vets will have the needed resume and experience to pick up where they left off, rather than having to start over again.
For veteran-owned businesses that have been in operation for over a year, this may be an ideal option. The interest rates are competitive, and most users said that the fees were reasonable. As a result, many veteran owned small businesses have been able to get the funds they need to start or grow their business and aid the local community with more jobs and services.
However, it may not be the right loan for veterans who need more than $100,000. This is due to restrictions on the size of the loan that Street Shares is willing to offer a particular business. The minimum amount is $5,000. People who used this small business loan said that the application process was quick and electronic, and funds were deposited within a week of approval. That’s a good sign, as most businesses apply for loans when they need cash or anticipate they will need cash. The fast disbursement means that you can execute plans for expansion or for shoring up your present operations in a timely and efficient manner, putting you ahead of the curve instead of wondering where you’re going to cut the budget so that you can catch up.
Hivers And Strivers
Veterans who graduated from a military academy and want to start a business may qualify for this special investment option. The group of angel investors may invest between $250,000 and $1 million in the early stages of a startup. This makes it especially appealing for vets who are looking to start their first business or start a new business. Moreover, these early stages of a business’s life are the times that it is most difficult to get the necessary capital. That makes the funding provided by
Hivers and Strivers even more appealing, as many small business loans, whether targeted at vets or not, require a business to be operating for a number of years before they are willing to offer loans and funding. Some applicants complained about rigid approval criteria. However, qualified borrowers said that this option was much better than a traditional loan. Veterans must have a solid business plan in place to be approved. While the strict requirements for funding may be off-putting to some, these requirements are what allows Hivers and Strivers to offer loans at extremely competitive interest rates.
Moreover, because of the business plan requirements, applying for small business start up loans from Hivers and Strivers can be a good way to test the viability of your business plan, regardless of if you accept a loan or not.
This lender offers larger loans to veteran-owned businesses.The maximum amount is $4 million. Down payments are 10 percent or more, and interest is prime plus 2.75 percent. Borrowers who reviewed the loan liked that there were no hidden fees. Also, they were happy about the flexible terms that assign shorter terms to smaller loans and longer terms up to 25 years for larger loans. Some borrowers did not receive as much money as they hoped to get. The lender bases the loan amount on the financed assets and the calculated amount of cash flow.
One of the best things about Connect2Capital is the maximum loan amount. Many of the veteran-focused small business lenders have smaller maximums, which means they aren’t viable options if your business is capital intensive or you are planning a major expansion and need a larger loan than other lenders are willing to provide.
Moreover, companies that operate in a more expensive marketplace, like New York or LA, for example, may find that the loan maximums that other veteran-focused lenders offer aren’t sufficient to meet their capital requirements. After all, there’s no utility in applying for a receiving a loan that is going to be less than the amount you need to start your business. That’s setting your business up for a tough start because you will find yourself severely underfunded from the beginning, making it hard to gain traction or momentum. Therefore, the higher funding maximum that Connect2Capital offers can make them the best option for many small business operators.
If veterans have a credit score of 600 or higher, they may qualify for a loan from this company. Revenue must be between $50,000 and $5 million. Also, borrowers must have been in business for more than 24 months. Most borrowers rated this loan highly for the easy application process and low interest rates. Another benefit cited was the fast financing after approval. Borrowers said that funds were deposited within a week. However, borrowers who had previous bankruptcies or foreclosures were disappointed to find that they did not qualify if the negative items took place within the past few years. SmartBiz is a good option for a few different types of businesses.
The first type of business that can benefit from a small business loan from SmartBiz are those that need funding quickly. The speed of disbursement that SmartBiz offers makes them an excellent choice if you’re facing an unexpected cash crunch. SmartBiz is also a good choice for businesses looking to borrow between $50k and $350k. While the minimum loan amount for SmartBiz is much less than $50k, the rate that SmartBiz offers on loans between $50k and $350k is prime + 2.75%. This is a fairly competitive interest rate, making SmartBiz a good place for larger, cheaper loans. The rate for loans between $30k and $49k is prime + 3.75%, which is still a decent rate, but an extra percentage point can make a huge difference in how much value a loan provides when compared to the cost of the loan.
Veteran Business Grants: An Additional Opportunity for Funding
While business loans are one of the most essential forms of funding for new business owners, there are also some other great programs available for veterans. The US Government and private organizations provide veteran small business owners with the opportunity to apply for grants. The primary benefit of small business grants for veterans is that you don't have to pay it back – you can obtain a debt-free injection of cash.
If you're reading this with scepticism, we understand. Many American don't realize there are a range of different grants available that can help you fund your business. Some of these grants don't just apply to veterans – there are various different small business grants for the general public and more specific demographics. If you take the time to understand what you're eligible for, you can benefit from some awesome funding opportunities.
Below we'll explore some of the most prominent business grants available to US military veterans. If you want to find effective, affordable ways to fund your business, check out some of the great options listed below:
USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant
If you're a US veteran who is planning on starting an agriculture business, you can apply for a USDA grant. These grants are put in place to encourage veterans and minorities to enter the agriculture business. It's a great way to get some of your start-up funding when you first begin your business.
Grant.gov is a government website with a database providing a list of all government grants. You can find plenty of different small business grants on this website. It's the best place to go if you're looking for government funding for your small business. If you take the time to go through all of the available grants and their requirements, you'll be pleased to find there are tons of great opportunities. While it does take some effort, it’s free money.
Economic Development Administration
Another great government agency to look into is the Economic Development Administration. These departments are run at a state level, so there will be different programs and requirements depending on where you are located. They provide grants to small business owners to help encourage economic growth. Also, they provide other useful tools and information to help you grow your business. It's a great resource if you're a first-time business owner.
National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE)
The National Association of the Self-Employed is a non-government organization of self-employed individuals. Every month, the organization chooses a small business to grant $4,000. It's a great grant to apply for if you're looking for extra funding and have a solid business plan. The only catch is that you need to be a member of NASE to qualify for the funding!
FedEx Small Business Grant Awards
FedEx is another private company that provides small business grants to business owners. They provide large grants for select businesses. You typically have to fill out a long application exhibiting why your business is deserving of a grant. These grants are typically distributed once a year – the awarding comes in the form of a competition. For first place, you can receive up to $25,000 towards your business costs.
If you're having trouble finding business loans for veterans, you can also use alternative funding methods to fund your business. With so many options for financing available in the modern world, it's important to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. Some of these methods may have higher interest rates than traditional small business loans, but they still provide the funding your business needs to take its operations to the next level.
In this section, we'll take a look at some of the alternative funding sources available to you as a small business owner. Make sure to take them all into account before deciding what best suits your busin
While personal loans sometimes have higher interest rates than traditional business loans, they also come with a range of benefits that can help you get the funding you need. While in the past you would have to head to a bank or credit union to get a personal loan, but now you can take advantage of online lenders that offer the same services. There are hundreds of online lenders that provide personal loans to individuals – you're spoiled for choice.
These lenders also don't typically require you to declare the reason you're borrowing the money. Sometimes, with small business loans you need to provide a lot of documentation that can end up creating problems. If you don't have all the information they need, they won't provide you with a loan. With online personal loans, you can often receive money without any form of business plan or documentation.
This also means that the lender will look at your credit score to determine how eligible you are to borrow. If you want to ensure you are approved for a loan at a decent rate, it's important that you prepare your credit score to be as good as possible. Pay down current debts and prepare for your application.
Another option for veterans that don't receive enough funding from traditional loans is peer-to-peer lending. This form of lending is a relatively new concept – it’s not like other loans. With peer-to-peer lending, you receive loans from investors who provide capital to the lending platform. Instead of a traditional lending company providing the capital, other people who want a return on the money will lend you cash.
You can use these loans for traditional purposes or for business expenses. Another great thing about this form of loan is that there are tons of different lending requirements. Depending on your credit background, you will be offered different terms. It's important to remember that peer-to-peer lending can be very expensive if you have a bad credit score. If you're a small business owner, it's important to know that you can afford your financing. Don't put yourself in a position where your business may suffer because of extortionate interest rates.
Traditional Small Business Loans
If you still need other options for loans as a veteran, you're obviously entitled to apply for normal financing through a traditional lender. Many banks and credit unions provide small business loans to a range of different business owners. These lenders tend to be more risk averse, so you will most likely need a solid credit history and a credible business plan to be accepted for this form of financing.
In all fairness, if you're eligible to apply for a small business loan from a traditional lender, you'll most likely be able to apply for a small business loan backed by the government. The benefits of this type of financing were discussed earlier in this article.
Other Advantages: Business Tools
If you've spent a lot of your life in the military, there's a high chance you don't have much experience running a business. Anyone can make a great small business owner, you just have to know where to start. If you're unsure about how to run a business and develop a platform, you can seek assistance through some small business VA lenders.
Many of these lenders or associations put aside resources to help veterans build businesses. They want you to reach your full potential – it's a great way to improve your chances of succeeding as a small business owner. Take advantage of these special resources available to you and try to work with veteran small business lenders that provide additional business resources or advice.
How to Best Prepare for Veteran Loans
If you're going to apply for a veteran small business loan, or any small business loan for that matter, it's essential to be as prepared as possible. You want to ensure you can acquire the funding you need as quickly and effectively as possible. Also, if you're rejected from funding, it may damage your chances in the future. Preparing for your application is easy as long as you stay organized. The type of preparation you need will depend on the type of loan you're applying for.
If you're applying for a small business loan that is backed by the government, the requirements will typically be much higher. You will need to apply for a loan and provide documentation about your business, your finances, and you will also often need to provide a deposit. As mentioned previously, this makes it a more complicated process than other forms of finance. Regardless, it can be rewarding as these loans can typically provide you with substantial amounts of capital.
If you're applying for the other forms of finance mentioned in this article (peer-to-peer, traditional loans, and online loans), your personal finances will play a much larger role in the decision-making process. This is especially true if you have never owned a business before. Lenders will want to know they can provide you with the money you need without having to worry about how responsible you are. Try using a business loan calculator to get a better idea on the total cost of the loan.
Your personal credit score and report will be crucial in the decision-making process. You may also need to provide a down payment or secure the loan against the value of an asset. For this reason, you need to be careful when you're applying for this form of finance – you don't want to put your children and family's financial security at risk.
How To Choose The Right Lender
The first consideration is the lender’s loan maximum. Some lenders may not offer enough, and some lenders focusing on larger loans may have minimums that exceed a veteran’s needs. For example, a veteran who needs $25,000 for equipment should not apply for a loan with a minimum of $50,000. Also, pay attention to interest rates and if they are added to prime rates. Be sure that a rate is fixed, and understand all fees before signing any papers. Some loans require collateral, and some require a down payment. Consider these criteria and compare them to budget needs before choosing a lender.
Understanding the different loan requirements can help you determine what loan makes the most financial sense for your business. This is especially true when it comes to fees like origination fees and other associated closing costs that you may not think about until you are about to sign the papers. Finally, read reviews of at least five prospective lenders before choosing one. Also, include traditional loans in the search since some may actually have better terms than certain veteran-focused loans.
When applying for small business loans, submit applications at the time of need. Waiting several months after being approved results in another credit check, and multiple credit inquiries temporarily lower a score. Plan on applying with a few lenders and accepting an offer immediately.
As long as you do proper research, you’ll find that you can get a loan to help get your business started, help keep it running, or to help it grow in no time. You’ve worked hard in service of your country, and there’s no reason that you should be denied access to the capital you need to work hard for yourself and your local community. Small business loans can be the difference between your business growing or even surviving, so make sure you take full advantage of any funding you can get to expand your business.
A Comprehensive Approach Can Help Improve Your Chances
Many small business owners have to source funding from a range of different places – it can sometimes be hard to get all the money you need from a single lender or source. Using various forms of finance can help you improve your chances of getting the money you need to start your business.
As a veteran, it's important to use all of the different lending options afforded to you. There is a wealth of great resources for veterans who want to start small businesses. Aside from loans and grants, there are also plenty of NGOs that provide advice, resources, and other benefits for small business owners. If you want to be a successful small business owner, it's important to use all the advantages afforded to you – you'd be crazy not to!
If you're looking for any other information on small business loans, make sure to check out some of the other resources on our website. We provide our readers with plenty of information on obtaining small business loans and grants. It's a great way to prepare yourself for starting your next business!
After serving time in the military, veterans often seek ways to seamlessly re-integrate into society. For those that wish to start or business, or fund one that that they presently have, there are specialized loans and services available. For those searching, you can use the information provided in this guide, to assist you and also enlighten you on the options available at your disposal.
Veteran Business Loan Basics
Curious about veteran business loans and how they can benefit your small business? This section offers introductory information on veteran-owned businesses, VA business loans, SBA Express loans, and many other funding programs that are available to veterans.
What is a VA business loan?
Can you get a VA business loan?
How much is the VA business loan?
What is the Patriot Express Loan?
How do I apply for a small business loan?
Applying for a business loan involves checking your eligibility, seeking out programs and lenders, filling out applications and ensuring you have all the correct information. There are even small business loan apply online options.
What is SBA Express loan program?
What is an SBA 7a loan?
What is needed for a VA business loan?
Who do I see about getting a VA business loan?
How to apply for a guaranteed VA business loan?
What is the definition of a veteran owned business?
What is a CVE certification?
What does it mean to be a disabled veteran?
What is Sdvosb certification?
Qualifying & Registering with the VA
Persons that have served in the US military for a period is identified as a veteran. This section provides information on what qualifies an individual as a veteran and the benefits ascribed to this designation.
How do I register with the VA?
There are three ways to register with the VA. You can register online, via telephone by calling 1-877-222-VETS, or you can visit your local medical center to apply.
What qualifies you to be a veteran?
You qualify as a veteran if you served in the active military, naval, or air service for the United states and have been exonerated under honorable conditions.
Who qualifies for VA benefits?
To qualify for VA benefits, a person must be a veteran. Or, under special circumstances, they must be a dependent or survivor of a veteran.
VA Business Loan – Application, Interest Rates, Available Institutions
There are a number of components involved in a VA business loan. This section offers insight on the application process, potential interest rates, lenders, and how the VA business loans work.
What is the interest rate on a VA small business loan?
The interest rate offered on a VA small business loan is contingent on the amount being borrowed as well as the institution lending the loan.
How do I apply for a VA small business loan?
To apply for a VA small business loan, seek out institutions that offer specialized loans for veterans and be sure that you all personal and business documentation prepared. You can apply online, through mail, or also in person with your chosen lender.
How does a VA business loan work?
VA business loans are guaranteed loans that are issued through the SBA. They are different from other loans as the process is more expedited, requires less paperwork and in most situations eliminates upfront fees.
How to get a VA business loan with bad credit?
Prior to applying for VA business loans for bad credit, it is always best to check your eligibility and what is required by the lender. With this understanding, you can apply to institutions that match your current financial situation.
How easy is it to get a VA business loan?
If you have sufficient credit, you can anticipate a much faster application process for your business loan. For these reasons, checking the criteria for each lender can simplify the process.
How to use my VA loan with my business?
If you obtain a VA business loan from the SBA, you can use the funds provided for your business ventures. This includes purchasing inventory, furniture, machinery, supplies and other business-related needs.
Available Grants & Use of VA Business Loans
It cannot be denied that there are a variety of financial services available to veteran-owned small businesses. With the funding provided, individuals are expected to use them as delineated. This section offers information regarding possible grants and how business grants are to be used.
How to get a veteran business loan for new business?
To obtain a veteran business loan for a new business it can be acquired through the Small Business Administration. SBA Express Loan is a program designed for veterans seeking business loans.
What SBA loans can i get as a veteran to start my business?
There are three types of SBA loans available for veterans. SBA Express Loan, SBA's 7(a) loan, and MREIDL or Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
Where do i go to get VA business loan?
To receive a VA business loan, research SBA approved lenders. Once an appropriate lender has been found, they will guide you through process of completing forms requested by the SBA.
How to use VA home loan for business?
If you receive VA home loan, you cannot use it for your business. For a business loan, you must go through the Small Business Administration to acquire a VA loan specific for business purposes.
What type of grant or loan should a veteran owned small business get?
Grants are not available to Veterans. However, the type of loan you receive is dependent on the amount in which you have qualified. Veteran owned small business can received funding ranging from $500 to $5.5millon.
Can I get a VA business loan when you are 100 VA unemployability?
If you are a veteran that is deemed 100 VA unemployability and you own a business or would like to start one, it is likely that you can receive a loan. However, to negate all doubts, contact a potential lender and inquire about your eligibility as it may vary depending on the lender.
What can a VA business loan not be used for?
VA business loans cannot be used to pay off any existing debts. The money acquired is to be used for working capital, supplies and necessities that improve the day-to-day operations of your business. You could even use it for bills like insurance on company vehicles depending on the state.
Can you use a small business loan to buy real estate?
Unfortunately, you cannot use a small business loan to purchase real estate. The money funded is expected to help you pay for supplies and other requirements of the business.
Paperwork, Terms & Conditions, Business Plans
When applying for loans, there are requests. Veteran business loans require specific documentation and business plans to substantiate loan applications. Once approved there are terms and conditions that are to be followed. This section provides information on these requirements.
What are the forms for VA small business loan?
After you have followed all the steps required for VA small business loan and the application is complete, there are forms provided by the SBA for completion. These forms provide them with additional information to support your request.
How long is a VA small business loan available?
VA small business loans have varying terms ranging from 10-15 years, and they are dependent on the agreed upon terms and conditions.
How does a business get on the approved contractors list for VA loans?
To get on the approved contractor’s list, businesses must be approved as veteran owned. With these types of “set aside contracts” individuals can receive rewards from the government.
What does your credit score have to be for a VA business loan?
Regardless of your credit score, there are VA business loans available. However, individuals with adequate credit scores starting from at least 600, can expect to receive suitable terms, conditions and interest rates.
How much down payment for veteran business loan?
Most VA loans do not require a down payment. If one is required, it is typically required for a VA Home loan not a veteran business loan.
How to do a business plan for a VA loan?
A business plan is required for a VA business loan. If you do not have one created, there are resources available. The SBA website offers information on centers that assist individuals with writing business plans and other necessities.
How to collect your VA business loan?
Once your veteran business loan has been approved, you will be offered next steps from the institution on how to collect the funds.
Certifications, Disabled Veterans, & Unreimbursed Business Expenses
There are certifications that can be acquired for business loans, such as “service disabled veteran owned business” which offer distinction and other advantages. This section provides information on whether collateral is required for a loan, and it also details how external financial issues can potentially place a strain on acquiring a loan.
How fast can you get a VA personal business loan?
There are personal loans available to veterans that enable them to pay off a variety of debts, and also fund their own business. However, how quickly you receive the loan is reliant on your credit score, the lender and other concerns.
How do unreimbursed business expenses effect a VA loan?
Recent changes have been made to the unreimbursed business expenses policy that limit the effects on a VA loan. These changes have become more beneficial for veterans, allowing them to qualify for higher loan amounts.
How to use my VA business loan with bad credit and no collateral?
Whether you have bad credit or no collateral, you can use the loan amount received to pay business expenses as that is its intended purpose.
What is a CVE certification?
Center for Verification and Evaluation offers certification that verifies veteran-owned and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses. With this accreditation, businesses are identified as having veteran eligibility, ownership, and control.
Do SBA loans require collateral?
Loans offered by the small business administration generally do not require collateral. However, the lenders or financial institutions used, may ask for some form of guarantee upon signing.
How to get a disabled veteran business loan?
There are a variety of loan programs available to disabled veterans. By accessing the services offered by the SBA these veterans can receive funding for their business.
How to get a VA loan to buy a business?
Receiving a business VA loan to acquire a business is no different than the process for receiving funds for your business’ working capital. Utilizing the services of the SBA can aid in minimizing the complications of obtaining a VA business loan.
How does a hundred percent disabled veteran apply for a small business loan?
Whether you are veteran with 100% disability, you can apply for a business loan. There are loans, especially available through the small business administration, for disabled veterans seeking small business loans.
Jason is a Senior Author for SBL. He has been working with small business owners like you for the past ten years. He graduated with an MBA and began a career as an independent financial consultant for small businesses in his state.