The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the kick-off of Veterans Small Business Week, an initiative on the part of SBA to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners. Veterans Small Business Week will be held from November 4 to 11 and is part of SBA’s work throughout the year to make sure the nation’s veterans have the tools and capital they need to start or grow a business.
“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country,” said acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit. “Veterans are highly skilled and highly trained leaders in their communities; it makes sense that after serving their country they would want to bring these skills back home and start businesses. Our job at the SBA is to make sure veterans know what tools and programs are out there to help them achieve their dreams.”
During Veterans Small Business Week, SBA staff all across the country will be working with partner organizations on educational efforts, mentoring, and trainings for veterans. SBA provides veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. Since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.
According to the U.S. Census, veterans are a significant part of the small business community. Nearly one in 10 small businesses is veteran-owned, and our nation’s 2.4 million veteran-owned small businesses employ almost 6 million people and generate more than $1 trillion in receipts. In the private sector, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.
SBA currently engages veterans through its 68 local SBA district offices, 15 Veterans Business Outreach Centers nationwide, its partnership with 63 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) with over 900 outreach locations, and 12,000 SCORE volunteers. Each year SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, please visit the website.