SBA Resources for Veterans
The U.S. Small Business Administration and its partners offer training and support services to help military veterans pursue the American dream they served to help protect.
The same qualities that have come to define military service members are often ascribed to successful entrepreneurs: leadership, sacrifice, discipline and resilience.
Military service and entrepreneurship both require a level of sacrifice and dedication that makes the job of running a business a natural fit for many veterans. In fact, veterans are 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than those who have not served in the military. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, U.S. veterans own more than 2.5 million small businesses, representing nearly 1 in 10 companies nationwide.
To help military veterans pursue the American dream they served to help protect, the SBA and its partners offer training and other support services. Whether you’re a transitioning service member, veteran, National Guard/Reserve member or military spouse, these resources can help you start or grow a small business.
Veteran small business owner strategy #1: Experience
“Veteran,” by definition, means experienced. And while a military background can be an invaluable foundation for running a business, you’ll also need industry-specific, in-the-trenches job experience.
Employment services like the U.S. Department of Labor’s American Job Center network can ease the transition from military to civilian work life and connect veterans with jobs. That’s how Army veteran DeeAnna Baxter-Stone, working with a veterans’ representative at AJC’s Utah South County Employment Center, found Zions Bancorporation’s Military Internship Program and was ultimately hired by Zions as an anti-money laundering/fraud compliance analyst.
Zions’ 12-week paid military internship program has provided more than 100 veterans and active guard and reserve members with on-the-job training, banking work experience and networking opportunities. Get more information about applying for Idaho military internships and Utah military internships today.
Veteran small business owner strategy #2: Research and Planning
“Semper Paratus” — Latin for “always ready” — is the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard and wise words to live by for aspiring business owners. Before you find yourself on the frontlines of business ownership, the SBA’s Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) can help you map out the marketplace and come up with a five-year business plan for your company.
A business plan acts as a roadmap that lays out your company’s mission, values and financial projections, and keeps you on track with your goals. While you can’t always predict the battles ahead, a business plan will boost your company’s chances of success.
Veteran small business owner strategy #3: Training and Mentoring
Basic training is a must for U.S. Army recruits and essential for new business owners. Veteran entrepreneurs can receive in-person and online business training, counseling and mentoring through the SBA and its partner programs. The Boots to Business program, for example, teaches fundamentals of business ownership, including budgeting and managing a business.
Other veteran-focused, SBA-funded training includes the Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program, the Service Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program, and the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program. More information related those programs can be found here. Don’t forget the no-cost business counseling offered by SCORE, SBDC and the Zions Bank Business Resource Centers in Boise and Salt Lake City.
Veteran small business owner strategy #4: Financing and cash flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business but securing the necessary financing to get your business off the ground can be challenging. SBA loans are an accessible source of funding for small businesses and allow you to maintain decision-making autonomy without diluting your equity.
Veterans or military spouses with majority ownership in a company are eligible for fee relief through the SBA Veterans Advantage loan program. These loans offer the same terms as the popular SBA 7(a) loans and Express loans, but with reduced or waived guarantee fees.
From specialized military banking services to internships and employment, Zions Bank is proud to of its track record of supporting the military community. Visit a Zions Bank location near you to learn more about these services and opportunities.