Military members put their lives on the line in defense of the country and deserve a fair shot at living a full life once they’ve completed their service. The sacrifices their families have made during the enlistment of their loved one should also be honored, and no military member or his or her family should be forced to struggle to make ends meet or find gainful employment.
The good news is there are plenty of opportunities available to veterans and their families to make the most of their lives outside of the military. One example is the loan programs vets gain access to as a benefit of their service, and in many cases, these loans are available to veterans who want to start their own businesses.
Business loans for vets are a great tool for using the experience and confidence they’ve gained from serving in the military to launch a business once their service is complete.
What Should You Know about Business Loans for Veterans?
The entrepreneurial spirit is common among veterans. After all, most of them got a head start on life and have been living independently with massive responsibilities for years before many people even graduate from college. The military teaches its members to be self-starters and equips them to manage all aspects of operating a business of their own.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the capital available to launch a business, especially when they are younger or when they have limited business experience. Many veterans lack the network needed to drum up capital to launch a business – something that’s a challenge for many prospective business owners but a challenge that can be especially difficult after spending several years in the military.
The good news is there are several business loan programs available to veterans.
VA loans are available from the Small Business Administration. The Small Business Administration even has an office specifically set up to work with veteran entrepreneurs who want to launch a business.
There are two low-interest loans available for vets through the SBA, including the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative and the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan. There are also counseling and training plans offered through the SBA that help prospective veteran business owners prepare for life as the owner of a business.
To qualify, military veterans must be the majority owners of any business they launch, and the business cannot be a multi-level marketing (MLM) or pyramid structure, nor can the deal with gambling or lending. To learn more about what types of business would be classified as MLM, check out this information from the Federal Trade Commission.
The money military veterans borrow through the SBA program can be used for just about any business purpose, including the start-up costs, business management, or investing in inventory. Funds can also be used for purchasing real estate or equipment, expanding an existing business, or setting up to contract services.
It should be noted, the money borrowed for business loans for veterans does not come directly from the VA. Instead, the money comes from a regular lending institution but is guaranteed by the VA. This means if there is a problem with loan repayment, the VA is responsible for protecting the lending institution’s investment.
The Express loan program through the VA makes it easier for veterans to launch their own business and continue their contribution to society in a different way once their service is complete. The loan has no upfront fee and provides up to $350,000 to potential business owners who served in the military. Having the ability to borrow money to start a business and not pay fees can have a significant impact on a veteran’s opportunities and make it possible to start a business that might not otherwise have occurred.
In addition to providing the benefit of no fees, the Express loan also has an accelerated turn-around time – unlike many government lending programs and loans in general. You’ll be able to know if you’ve been approved for an Express loan within 36 hours, so you won’t waste weeks waiting to see if you’ll be able to move ahead with your dreams.
The loan guarantees up to 85 percent of $150,000 and 75 percent of amounts ranging from $175,000 to $500,000. If a borrower takes out a loan for less than $25,000,they don’t need to provide any capital.
These low-interest loans typically range from rates started at 2.25 percent up to 4.75 percent. This means you will not be spending a lot of money over the long haul to borrow money and starting a business is more affordable than ever for veterans.
Additionally, the loan has an easy application process and provides a line of credit that is easy to use. It’s the SBA’s most popular program,and almost 60 percent of the administration’s loans are through the Express program. This is one of the best options you have available if you are a veteran interested in launching a business and in need of startup capital.
How to Get Started with a Business Loan for Veterans
The loan process can be intimidating, even for those with military experience who have defended their country. There’s the fear you’ll be turned down for a loan, as well as the process of applying that can be complicated.
The VA and its business loans for veterans programs have done everything possible to make the loan application and approval process for those who want to start their own business as simple as possible. Despite any fear or trepidation you might have, the process is well worth taking the leap if your goal is to own your own business. You’ve invested time and effort into serving your country,and you should take advantage of all of the benefits available to you now that you’ve completed your service.
Business loans for veterans are available for all sorts of businesses and can help you achieve your dreams and build a better life for your family. It’s one of the most important programs available through the VA and one you should look into if you’ve ever considered owning your own business.