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Small Business Grants for Veterans: How to Secure Funding

One of the rewards following a successful tour of service in the U.S. armed forces is the support that the U.S. government grants veterans. The U.S. armed forces have extensive programs to assist veterans in transitioning from military to civilian life.

If you are a veteran, a service member in transition, or the spouse of a service member, we hope you’ll find the information below useful in devising plans for a veteran-led small business. There are a great number of organizations that award grants for veterans to start a business. Join us as we dive into the subject of small business grants for veterans.

Why are Small Business Grants Important?

Small business grants are important for many reasons, both for veterans and for the larger economy. Here are just a few of those reasons:

As veterans transition from military life back into the civilian world, one of the challenges they face is re-entering the economy. Skills gained in the military include technical, management, and leadership skills.

Veterans need small business grants because most veterans do not have the same capital reserves as civilians. Their businesses will have a greater chance of success if they are not burdened with debt. Small business grants for veterans are also great for the economy, with 40 percent of veteran-led small businesses grossing over $5 million dollars yearly. Veteran-led small businesses support five million U.S. families.

Veteran business grants help everyone. There are even programs that provide VA business grants for disabled veterans.

Small Business Grants: The Basics

Any veteran who wants to tap into government support for their post-service business venture should investigate the organizations below and their programs. These organizations not only provide invaluable training and networking, but they can also help guide veterans through the application process for various startup business loans for veterans as well as grants.

Veterans Business Outreach Center

The first place that veterans and their families should look for support in starting a small business is the Veterans Business Outreach Center. The VBOC provides support and training for veterans who want to start their own small business by conducting feasibility studies to help determine if a business idea is workable. 

The VBOC does not provide loans directly but provides invaluable support to veterans who are working to get their businesses off the ground.

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

The OSDBU is like the VBOC, but instead of training, this office provides access to government contracts and bidding so that a veteran-owned business can become a government vendor. There is a vetting process, after which a veteran-owned business can become listed on the office’s VetBiz directory. This office also grants access to government financing programs that help veteran-led small businesses and business loans for veterans.

Boots to Business

This is an eight-week online course offered by the SBA that trains transitioning veterans in management, finance, and entrepreneurship.

Small Business Grants: Tips

To apply for VA small business grants for veterans, you should fall into one of these categories:

  • Honorably discharged veterans
  • Active duty national guard members and reservists
  • Active duty military personnel participating in the military’s transition assistance program (TAP)
  • The current spouse of any veteran, active duty service member, national guard or reservist, or widowed spouse of any service member who died in the line of duty

The best first step is to register with the VBOC, and then investigate the various grant programs available while preparing a business plan. The Boots to Business program specifically helps veterans prepare business plans.

Small Business Grants: Examples

Here are a few examples of grant programs for veterans you can investigate while working with a counselor from VBOC or another program:

  • Streetshares Foundation: This group offers lines of credit, loans, and government contract financing to help cover equipment and payroll before invoice payment starts.
  • Hivers and Strivers Angel Fund: This is an angel fund that assists military academy graduates with startup financing. Grants are between $250000 and $1 million, and they offer syndicated grants and loans for larger amounts.
  • VA Small Business Grants: While these are meant for non-profit organizations, this is a great option for veterans who want to establish their own 501-C3 organizations. Compliance requirements are strict, but these grants do not have to be repaid.
  • Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Like OSDBU, this program provides contracting opportunities to service-disabled veterans. This problem also works to help individuals to obtain disabled veteran business grants.
  • VA VR&E Business Ownership Track: Another program for service-disabled veterans, the VA Vocational Rehab & Ownership track is for veterans who have a disability that makes it difficult for them to get regular employment. The program provides loans and grants for disabled veterans to start a business.

Veteran Business Grants: Let L3 Funding Help You Succeed

L3 funding works with all sorts of small businesses, including veteran-owned ones. Do you have questions about small business grants for veterans and merchant funding solutions? We can help answer your questions. Reach out to us.