The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Tuesday the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative, a commitment by its top national, regional and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by 5 percent per year for the next five years.
In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the SBA district office will build on the eight loans for $1 million that have already been approved to local veteran-owned small businesses during fiscal year 2013 through May 17. For the entire fiscal year 2012 the office approved 10 loans for $2.1 million to veteran-owned businesses.
Often times, veterans face challenges in raising capital or have trouble receiving a conventional loan. With the support of SBA’s top 20 national lending partners, and approximately 100 additional regional and community lending partners across the United States, SBA expects to assist an additional 2,000 veterans obtain loans to start or expand small businesses by increasing lending by $475 million over the next five years. This equals a 5 percent increase above historic veteran lending activity by the SBA.
The initiative also complements SBA’s existing partnership with the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) VetLoan Advantage strategic initiative that offers small business financing discounts and training to veterans who own businesses or are interested in small business ownership.
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of SBA’s highest priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Through this partnership with national lending partners and regional and community leaders across the U.S., we stand ready to serve veteran entrepreneurs with loan-guarantees, entrepreneurial training, and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive the local economy and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”
Veterans make up a large number of successful small business owners. Nine percent of small businesses are veteran-owned. These 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employ more than 5 million individuals. In the private sector workforce, veterans are more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.