Small Business Loans and Resources for Veterans

Small business loans for veterans are available to assist military members as they transition into the civilian workforce and start their own small business.

For instance, service members with a veteran owned small business may qualify for reduced-fee funding under the U.S. Small Business Association’s (SBA) Veterans Advantage loan. However, applicants must be a veteran, a participant of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) or be the spouse of a qualifying veteran or active duty service member. Additionally, applicants must submit several important documents as proof of their eligibility, including a copy of the veteran’s military discharge papers.

In addition to this VA small business loan, a variety of veteran employment services and programs are available to owners of veteran-owned businesses and those looking to re-enter the workforce. These resources include the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Program, Boots to Business and the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP). To learn more about these loans, grants and programs for veterans who own small businesses, review the information below.

What is the veteran-owned small business loan?

Reduced-fee SBA loans for veterans are available to qualifying service members under the Advantage Lending program. As part of the Advantage program, qualifying veterans receive benefits such as guarantees and fee reductions on all 7(a) SBA loans of up to $350,000. Therefore, the Veterans Advantage Lending program can help service members and their families to save while borrowing money and starting their small business. For Express SBA loans of between $150,001 and $350,000, for instance, the Veterans Advantage Lending program provides qualifying service members with a 50 percent guarantee on loans, an easy and expedited application and approval process, and no upfront fees.

What are the VA business loan requirements?

Advantage SBA loans for vets are available to qualifying veterans, active duty service members, and the current or surviving spouses of military members. To qualify for the Advantage small business loan for vets, however, at least 51 percent of the small business must be owned by one or more of the following individuals:

  • Honorably-discharged veterans
  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities
  • Active duty service members who participate in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Members of the National Guard or Reserve
  • The spouse of veterans, active duty service members, or members of the National Guard or Reserve
  • The surviving spouse of a service member who died in the military or as the result of a service-related disability

To apply for a VA SBA Loan, which documents are needed?

When applying for Advantage SBA loans, service members must also submit military documentation as proof of their eligibility. For instance, veterans, applicants with service-connected disabilities, and the current spouses of military members may submit a copy of their discharge documents (DD Form 214) as proof of their eligibility. If applicants cannot submit this form, they may provide a Certification of Military Service in lieu of this document (NA Form 13038).

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Moreover, surviving spouses who wish to apply for an SBA VA loan may submit any form of documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Department of Defense (DOD), as long as the document shows that the service member died while in service or as the result of a service-connected disability. Other SBA veterans who wish to apply for the Advantage loan must submit the following documents as proof of their eligibility:

  • An active U.S. Armed Forces Identification Card (if applying for the loan as a participant of the TAP program).
  • An Armed Forces of the United States Geneva Conventions Identification Card and a Reserve Component or Active Duty Military number (if applying for the loan as a participant of the TAP program).
  • An Armed Forces of the United States Identification Card (if applying as a member of the National Guard or Reserve).
  • A DOD Guard Reserve Family Member Identification Card and proof of marriage, if applying as the current spouse of a qualifying veteran.

Note: When applying for the Advantage small business loan for veterans, applicants may submit a statement of service if they cannot provide a photocopy of the service member’s military identification card. However, the statement of service must include the full name and Social Security Number (SSN) of the service member and it must be signed by a commander or another military official.

Are there any other programs for veteran small business owners?

A variety of other small business programs for vets are also available under the VA and the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). These programs help to protect, counsel and assist veterans and other disadvantaged small business owners. For instance, these veteran owned small business programs include:

  • The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program. This program is available to assist small businesses that are socially or economically disadvantaged. However, businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by U.S. citizens with a personal net worth of less than $250,000 and a three-year average adjusted gross income of less than $250,000. Applicants must meet additional eligibility requirements as well.
  • The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program. Known as SDVOSB, this SBA veteran program is available to assist small businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by veterans with service-connected disabilities.
  • The Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program. Also known as HUBZone, this veteran SBA program benefits small businesses that have principal offices in an SBA HUBZone. Additionally, at least 51 percent of the company must be owned by U.S. citizens, an Indian Tribute, a Community Development Corporation, or a Native Hawaii organization. Moreover, at least 35 percent of the company’s employees must reside in an SBA HUBZone.
  • The Veteran-Owned Small Business Program. Known as VOSB, this SBA program for vets assists small businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by one or more veterans.
  • The Women-Owned Small Business Program. To qualify for the WOSB program, small businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by female U.S. citizens and women must manage the company’s day-day-to-day operations.
  • The Small and Disadvantaged Business Program. To participate in the SDB program, small businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by individuals with economic or social disadvantages.

To learn more about these vet-owned small business programs, applicants may contact the OSDBU Call Center at 1-866-584-2344 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Additional Resources for SBA Veterans

An SBA veteran, service member or military spouse can take advantage of several other resources under the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD). For instance, these resources include Boots to Business, the VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP), the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), Bunker in a Box, Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), the Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Program and the Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP). Additionally, a veteran with service-connected disabilities may take advantage of programs such as Dog Tag, Inc. and the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).

Moreover, several veteran owned small business grants and loans are available through the StreetShares Foundation and the SBA. For instance, service members may apply for the Veteran Small Business Award under the StreetShares Foundation or they may apply for funding under the SBA’s Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (MREIDL).

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