As a veteran-owned business owner, you know the unique challenges that come with entrepreneurship. One of the biggest challenges you may face is accessing capital to start or grow your business. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you secure the funding you need to succeed.
The Importance of Accessing Capital for Veteran-Owned Businesses
Access to capital is essential for any small business, but it’s especially important for veteran-owned businesses. These businesses face unique challenges such as a lack of financial resources and difficulty transitioning from military to civilian life. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, yet they face more obstacles when it comes to accessing capital.
Fortunately, there are programs and resources available to help veteran-owned businesses overcome these obstacles and access the capital they need to succeed.
Tips for Accessing Capital as a Veteran-Owned Business
- Explore Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs
The SBA is a federal agency that offers a variety of programs and services to help small businesses, including veteran-owned businesses. Some of the SBA programs that may be of interest to veteran-owned businesses include:
- Veterans Advantage Loan Program: This program provides loans of up to $350,000 to veterans and military spouses who own small businesses.
- Patriot Express Loan Program: This program provides loans of up to $500,000 to veterans and members of the military community who want to start or expand a small business.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: This program helps small businesses that are owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans. The program offers contracting opportunities with the federal government and provides training and counseling.
- Consider Alternative Lenders
If you don’t qualify for SBA loans or need additional funding beyond what SBA loans can provide, consider alternative lenders. These lenders typically have more flexible lending requirements than traditional banks and may be more willing to work with veteran-owned businesses.
Some alternative lenders to consider include:
- StreetShares: This lender offers term loans, lines of credit, and contract financing to veteran-owned businesses.
- Accion: This nonprofit lender offers small business loans to veteran-owned businesses as well as business training and counseling.
- Build Your Business Credit
Your personal credit history is important when it comes to accessing capital, but so is your business credit. Building strong business credit can help you qualify for loans and other financing options with more favorable terms and interest rates.
Some ways to build your business credit include:
- Establishing credit accounts with vendors and suppliers.
- Applying for a business credit card and using it responsibly.
- Paying your bills on time and in full.
- Resources for Veteran-Owned Businesses Seeking Capital
In addition to the SBA and alternative lenders, there are other resources available to help veteran-owned businesses access capital, including:
- Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs): These centers offer business training, counseling, and mentoring to veteran entrepreneurs. Some VBOCs also provide assistance with accessing capital.
- SCORE: This nonprofit organization provides free business mentoring and education services to small businesses, including veteran-owned businesses.
- Preparing for the Application Process
Once you’ve decided which option works best for your veteran-owned business, it’s important to prepare for the application process. Regardless of which funding option you choose, it’s crucial to prepare for the application process. You’ll need to gather a variety of documentation, including financial statements, tax returns, and business plans. It’s also important to ensure that your credit score is in good shape, as lenders will typically check it during the application process.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the application process:
- Gather your financial documentation: You’ll need to provide detailed financial statements, tax returns, and other financial documentation when you apply for funding. Make sure you have all of this information on hand and organized.
- Create a strong business plan: A strong business plan can help you demonstrate the potential of your business to lenders. Be sure to include a detailed description of your business, information about your target market, and financial projections.
- Check your credit score: Your credit score is an important factor that lenders will consider when evaluating your application. Make sure you check your score ahead of time and take steps to improve it if necessary.
- Be prepared to answer questions: Lenders may have additional questions about your business and your application. Be prepared to answer these questions and provide additional documentation if necessary.
If you’re a veteran-owned business in need of funding, the Veteran Access to Capital Grant Program offered by the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable can be a great option. This program offers offers a comprehensive solution by providing a digital platform to help veterans build their business credit and get access to lenders.
To apply for the Veteran Access to Capital Grant Program, visit the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable website at https://veteranaccesstocapital.com/