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sba

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

Earlier this year, the SBA implemented a new measure to help get small business loans into the hands of veterans.  To continue supporting America’s veterans, the SBA Veterans Advantage reduces the up-front guaranty fee from 3% to 0% for SBA Express loans over $150,000 approved to small businesses owned by qualified veterans.

The SBA has implemented this measure in order to encourage greater participation in SBA lending programs with a direct benefit to veteran-owned small businesses.

This measure set the borrower upfront fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express program (up to $350,000) which accounts for 73 percent of these loans.  The initiative started on January 1st, and will continue through the end of the fiscal year.

This change makes loans more affordable for borrowers.

Again, this policy announcement means that under the SBA Express program, veteran borrowers will no longer have to pay any upfront fee for any loan up to $350,000.

SBA provides veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses.   And since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.

Businesses must be 51% or more owned and controlled by an individual or individuals in one or more of the following groups: Veterans (other than dishonorably discharged); Service-Disabled Veterans; Active Duty Military service member participating in the military’s Transition  Assistance Program (TAP); Reservists and National Guard Members; or the Current spouse of any Veteran, Active Duty service member, or any Reservist or National Guard member; or widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability.

 

streetsharesfoundation

By Debbie Gregory

StreetShares, Inc., one of VAMBOA’s strategic partners, is a lending and investing community for veterans and their supporters. StreetShares’ principals have announced the formation of the StreetShares Foundation.

The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate, and support veteran small business owners. The foundation is partnering with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

Both StreetShares Foundation and StreetShares, Inc. are veteran-operated..

Iraq War veteran Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO/Co-Founder of StreetShares, said, “Veteran business ownership has been the backbone of the United States economy since World War II. The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to provide a new generation of veteran and military-spouse small business owners the support they need to thrive.”

The Foundation plans to give three Veteran Small Business Awards each month. Small businesses owned by military veterans, current reserve or active duty members, and qualified military spouses are eligible to apply. The awards are $2,000 for third place, $3,000 for second place, and $5,000 for the first place winner.

Award applications and educational material can be found on the foundation’s website at StreetShares.com/Foundation.

StreetShares had previously conducted a small award program. Last year’s winners collectively reported increasing revenues by over $1 million, hiring 24 new employees, and scoring a “Shark Tank” TV show appearance. With sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase and others, the StreetShares Foundation has plans to substantially expand the award program.

The Veteran Small Business Award program encourages everyone who supports veterans and entrepreneurship to participate in voting for their favorite veteran business at StreetShares.com/Foundation. Finalists will be presented for public vote each month.

We at VAMBOA are proud to partner with StreetShares and further the opportunities they present to military owned and veteran owned businesses.

vetbizchallenge

The Institute For Veterans and Military Families is presenting the VetSmallBiz Growth Challenge – a Business Plan Competition developed for veteran entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to the next level.  This unique competition offers elite growth and pitch coaching prior to the competition finals.  Winners will receive exposure to a distinguished judging panel, access to capital – $100K in total to be awarded – and three months of individualized coaching.  This Challenge is offered through the generous support of The Marcus Foundation and is open to U.S. service member and veteran entrepreneurs of all eras of service. Applications will be accepted through December 18, 2016.

Semifinalists will receive three weeks of elite growth coaching with their fellow competitors in an online group setting before they get to the finale. Winners will receive three months of growth coaching after the competition comes to a close.  The finale is a one-day challenge event that will expose the finalists to a distinguished group of judges and the opportunity to learn from each other during their 20-minute venture pitch round.

PRIZES:

1st – $50,000

2nd – $25,000

3rd – $10,000

Best Venture Impacting Veterans – $5,000

Most Innovative – $5,000

Best Social Venture – $5,000

Semifinalists – Pitch Coaching

Finalists – Growth Coaching

GRAND FINALE:

Georgia Aquarium 

225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Friday, March 3, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Event Contact: Kim Street, Program Manager, kmstreet@syr.edu, (315) 443-9512

veteranlaunch

By Debbie Gregory.

I recently was able to talk with a new non-profit in California called Veteran Launch.  They are offering what I like to call “Smart Money” to veteran entrepreneurs.  I call it “Smart” because of the attractive interest rates and the network and services they offer to Veterans for free as a part of their support.

First – “smart” interest rates. It always surprises me that about two-thirds of veterans do not shop around to get the best interest rates on their business financing. Veteran Launch is very attractive offering prime plus 4% which is about 7.5% right now. On loans up to $250,000 this is not only close to what banks offer but also much better then most of the online and peer lending options for Veterans.

The next “smart “thing that impressed me about Veteran Launch was how they work with the veteran business owner going into the transaction and help them refine their financials and business plan using some very sophisticated tools. What’s even better is on the back end of the transaction Veteran Launch is there to support the veteran business with free financial software and one-to-one business consulting to help reduce costs, increase revenue, and make sure they stay on top of their finances as they grow their business – I don’t see many lenders doing this for veterans.

They also bring a growing network of organizations that want to work with veteran owned businesses. This network is another “smart” reason to consider Veteran Launch because they can help you find new clients and business partners.

Perhaps the “smartest” thing I saw in Veteran Launch was that they are lead and staffed by military veterans. Their managing director and Army veteran, Noah Harris, brings a no nonsense approach to their support a veteran business owners and it seems to really work. Today they have worked with over 25 veteran business owners and loaned them almost $2.5 million dollars. If you’re a California-based business I suggest you check them out at www.veteranlaunch.org.

President Signs Vet Entrepreneurship Act

By Debbie Gregory.

President Obama recently signed an act that will encourage and equip veterans who want to start their own small businesses. To help navigate financial barriers, the new law waives the upfront guarantee fee for veterans applying for 7(a) express loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA), thus helping recently discharged service members and other veterans with opportunities to start new businesses.

With 21 million veterans living in the United States, the unemployment rate among this population is substantially higher than the national average. Because of this challenging statistic, more veterans are exploring self-employment opportunities.

The bill, introduced by House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), has received praise from lenders and veterans alike.

“Our veterans are as entrepreneurial minded as anyone else in the world,” said Chabot. “Think about all that’s required to launch a new business:  strategic planning, tactical expertise, dogged perseverance, and the ability to adjust plans to overcome new challenges at a moment’s notice. This is the American warfighter. Making sure they can access the resources needed to start their own business and build up the communities they’ve protected will do more than just create jobs – it will help them successfully transition into civilian life.”

Rich Bradshaw, President of Specialized Lending at United Community Bank, Blairsville, GA said, “As a lender, a veteran, and an Air Force Academy graduate, helping veterans make a life for themselves and their families once they return home from service is very personal to me. With more veterans returning to American soil, it is essential we do everything we can to bring down barriers to obtaining access to capital as they come back from doing everything they can to protect our country.  Waiving fees for veteran 7(a) borrowers encourages them to open small businesses, create jobs, and boost the economy.”

According to the Small Business Administration, an estimated 10% of all small businesses across the US are veteran-owned.

StreetShares