An increase of 14% in federal loans to veteran-owned small businesses last year marks a continued trend of growth for entrepreneurs in the military community, officials from the Small Business Administration announced on Monday. In fiscal year 2023, the agency provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran companies. This reflects 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, which makes up a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce.
In June, President Joe Biden 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. 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. Another center is set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
SBA officials recently launched a new SBA 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