The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses saw a 14% increase in 2022, marking a continued trend of growth for entrepreneurs in the military community. In fiscal year 2023, the agency provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran companies, representing a rise of approximately 40% in funding and 33% in total loan numbers since 2020. This is a significant improvement from the figures shown from fiscal years 2017 to 2020, which had indicated a decline.
The growth in federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses 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. According to SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, there are approximately 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses in the US that employ about 5.5 million Americans, making up a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce.
President Joe Biden has recently signed an executive order directing the SBA to develop more tools to assist would-be veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses wanting to start their own businesses. As part of this effort, the agency has announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to their existing network of 22 sites. These centers provide training and resources for veterans looking to start or grow their businesses.
In June, Guzman attended the opening ceremony for one new VBOC in Long Beach, California, with another set to open in Nevada by the end of the month. The new program launched by the SBA also includes a Veteran Business Certification program that 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.
Overall, these initiatives reflect an ongoing commitment by the SBA towards supporting veterans who wish to start or grow their own businesses. With an estimated number of around one million veteran-owned small businesses across America that contribute significantly