American heroes are making their mark in the entrepreneurial world, as federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses have seen a 14% increase last year. This growth reflects a continued trend of support for entrepreneurs in the military community, as announced by officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday. In fiscal year 2023, the agency provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran companies, marking a rise of approximately 40% in funding and 33% in total loan numbers since 2020.
SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman stated that the growth is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of American heroes and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, reducing red tape, and expanding outreach to meet entrepreneurs’ needs. The administration estimates that there are around 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses that employ about 5.5 million Americans, a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce.
President Joe Biden has shown his support for veteran entrepreneurs by signing an executive order directing the SBA to develop more tools to assist would-be veterans and military spouses wanting to start their own businesses. The agency has already announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers to their existing network of 22 sites. As part of agency outreach efforts around Veterans Day, Guzman attended the opening ceremony of one new center in Long Beach, California earlier this month, with another set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
The SBA has also recently launched a new SBA Veteran Business Certification program which connects service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with more federal contracting opportunities and expanded existing entrepreneurship training programs with a focus on women veterans and disabled veterans. More information on support services for veteran businesses can be found on the SBA website.