In 2023, the Small Business Administration (SBA) handed out $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran-owned small businesses, representing a significant increase of over 40% in funding and 33% in total loan numbers compared to 2020. This represents a recent trend in growth for entrepreneurs within the military community. SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman stated that the uptick is both a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of veterans and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, cutting red tape, and expanding their outreach network to meet the needs of entrepreneurs.
According to officials from the SBA, there are approximately 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses in the United States that employ about 5.5 million Americans, making up a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce. In response to this growing number of veterans looking to start their own businesses, President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this year directing the SBA to develop more tools to help would-be veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses. The agency has already announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to their existing network of 22 sites, with two centers set to open before the end of this month – one in Long Beach, California and another in Nevada.
To further support these veteran-owned businesses, the SBA has also launched a new Veteran Business Certification program which connects service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with more federal contracting opportunities. Additionally, existing entrepreneurship training programs have been expanded with a focus on women veterans and disabled veterans. More information on support services for veteran businesses can be found on the SBA website.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times