Entrepreneurship is on the rise across the country, but nowhere is that increase more prevalent than among communities that have had a historical disadvantage when it comes to starting their own business. From the disabled to communities of color to military veterans, small business ownership is a part of the path to prosperity now more than ever. And small business grants can play a significant role in creating and maintaining that path.
Why Are Small Business Grants So Important?
One of the most common fears for all entrepreneurs is the lack of capital. Whether you’re a newly launched startup or you’ve been running your company for 20 years, financing remains a primary concern for anyone serious about seeing their enterprise grow.
For military veterans, this concern is even more pronounced due to the inherent difficulty in transitioning to civilian life while also engaging in the stressful world of business management and entrepreneurship.
According to a 2016 census data, nearly 7.2 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are owned by former military, and vets who seek funding alternatives that don’t require to be repaid often avoid some of the early pitfalls of starting your own company. The less debt accrued or outstanding loans required to begin or maintain their business allows veterans more opportunity to focus on managing their companies and optimizing their products and services.
What Types of Grants Are Available?
If you or someone you know has served in the U.S. military, there are small business grants for veterans available to help jump start your career as an entrepreneur. Consider the following small business grants created specifically for veterans in your search for funding to start or grow your business.
One of the first resources a small business owning veteran can seek out for training and financing is their local Veteran Business Outreach Center. Managed by the Small Business Administration in D.C., but located in 15 centers across the country, it is a first-rate tool for veterans looking to transition to civilian life within an entrepreneurship program.
The centers offer access to management courses, market research, and qualified referrals to independent grants for vets interested in opening a business or franchise.
Not your traditional grant program, the HCC Veteran Entrepreneurship Training (VET) Program offers small business owners who have served in the U.S. military access to angel investors and funding partnerships they might not otherwise be able to connect within their chosen industry.
Along with access to investors and community leaders, participants in the VET program also receive expert training and hands-on entrepreneurial guidance on how to start and sustain a business.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs isn’t known for their generous grant programs, but they do offer resources for veterans with disabilities who have difficulty finding traditional forms of employment and are interested in starting their own business as a primary source of income.
The restrictions are many, but the options are plentiful. Applicants can receive personalized counseling, management training and grant funding to purchase licenses and bonds, inventory, and specialized equipment for their business venture.
The online resource Grantwatch is always a great starting point when searching for programs to suit your niche or industry, and this is no less true for grants for veterans. A virtual warehouse of detailed information, you can find grants specifically for nonprofits that benefit veterans and their families, grants for entrepreneurs with businesses that help or hires former military in the state of Idaho, and even grants to build or rehabilitate housing for veterans in Puerto Rico.
You don’t have to be a veteran yourself to obtain these grants, but you will have to provide a product or service for military veterans to qualify.
Why Do Grants for Veterans Make Sense?
Although small business grants for veterans may be difficult to find, they’re invaluable to entrepreneurs who wish to parlay their ingenuity, dedication and focus into their own career enterprise.
The path to prosperity through small business ownership has many obstacles, but thanks to their commitment and training in the armed forces, many veterans are perfectly suited to navigating those obstacles. And if the possibility of earning a small business grant can help secure that path, there’s no doubt that many vets will pursue it with determination and courage.