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Mary Claypool: Small Business Administration supporting U.S. Veterans

June 6, 2013

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Extracted from the June 6, 2013 Edition of the Montgomery County The Herald
By Mary Claypool

If you are a Veteran transitioning from active service and want to become an entrepreneur or you have been out of the service for some time and want to start a new small business or expand an existing one, the Small Business Administration just made it a little easier.

On May 21, 2013, the Small Business Administration unveiled the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative.  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 $475million over the next five years, an increase of 5percent over SBA’s historic lending activity to Veterans.

Veterans make a significant contribution to the economy.  More than 9percent, or 2.45million, of U.S. small businesses are Vveteran-owned, employing over 5million people.

The SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative complements the ’Operation Boots to Business — From Service to Startup“ program that was unveiled last year.  That program, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, supports Veterans transitioning back into civilian life and gives those with an entrepreneurial spirit the resources to start and grow a business.  The program provides comprehensive training materials specifically geared toward transitioning service members.  It’s designed to teach returning service members the nuts and bolts of how to successfully start and grow their own business, such as the development of a business plan, tips on how to secure financing and connection to a network of resources.

Another resource is SBA’s initiative with the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO’s) VetLoan Advantage strategic initiative that offers small business financing discounts and training to Veterans who own businesses or are interested in small business ownership.

The Veteran population is significant and diverse at 21.5million in the U.S. In 2011, Veterans were comprised of 1.6million females; 2.3million blacks; 1.2million Hispanics; 265,000 Asians; 153,000 American Indian or Alaska Natives; 27,000 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders; and 17.2million non-Hispanic whites.  There were 1.8million under age 35.  In a tough economy, starting their own businesses might be a viable option with the needed resources readily accessible.

SBA has taken the lead in offering programs and training that support Veteran entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools they need to be successful in business.  If you need capital for your small business, call one of the local Small Business Development Centers at centralcoastsbdc.org or sbdc.csumb.edu, or one of the 15 Veterans Business Outreach Centers.

To learn more about additional opportunities for potential and existing Veteran small businesses, visit the website at www.sba.gov/veterans.

Mary Claypool is an adviser with Claypool Consulting and former executive director of the Monterey County Business Council.  She can be reached at maryclaypool@sbcglobal.net or 917-3777.


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