Veterans have spent years of their life serving our country. They’ve protected the world from terrorists, ensured that our borders stay where they are, and minimize civilian casualties of war. These men and women have bravely served our nation and defended our interest, but some of them struggle to get even the most basic things that they yearn for. A home is one such thing. Studies have shown that many veterans still rent when they return from duty, unable to buy a house. This is often due to the fact that they don’t get the chance to grow their savings account or diversify their investment portfolio while trying to fend off enemies of the state.
Luckily, there are many grants and programs available that can help grow veterans’s net worth and finally acquire a home of their very own. Here we’re going to look at 6 Small Business Grants for Veterans in 2019 and where turn to if you need financial aid for your businesses.
Grants for veterans to start a business
1. Veterans Business Outreach Centers
These centers are operated by the Small Business Association and seek to provide assistance as well as funding to veterans who have started their own business. This is great for first-time business owners who, in addition to needing money, also require some guidance on the process of running their own business. It’s one thing to lack capital, but another thing entirely to be running a business for the first time.
A lot could go wrong that might lead you into bankruptcy, so getting guidance from those who are more experienced than you is just as important as getting the funding that you need to further your company. These centers will enroll you in free courses that will teach you everything you need to know about running your own business. They can also refer you to certain grants you can apply for which target veterans specifically. There are few places better than these centers when it comes to hanging up the uniform and starting a business.
2. VET program
The VET in this program actually stands for Veteran Entrepreneurship Training as opposed to just being short for veteran. Those in this program will receive training from experienced entrepreneurs and hands-on guidance to ensure that their business succeeds instead of flopping. They also build partnerships with angel investors and provide other funding opportunities. This is the embodiment of the saying “kill two birds with one stone” as they provide the knowledge you need to help your business succeed while also making it easier for you to get the capital needed to progress. It might not be your boilerplate grant, but it’s still a great way to attain the skills and money that you need to succeed.
3. Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
So most of us already know that the United States Department of Veteran Affairs isn’t exactly the most generous when it comes to giving out grants for businesses. That being said, they are often more generous when it comes to helping veterans with disabilities. If you lost a limb in the war or perhaps became deaf due to the loud bang of an armament, they may be willing to help you succeed in your own business seeing as gaining employment in more traditional forms may not be an option for you depending on the extent of your disabilities. There are many restrictions to this program, but also lots of options. You can receive training and counseling on how to run your business as well as grants that will cover your licensing, inventory, and other business costs — though some have said that acquiring funding for marketing is difficult since the VA sees it as non-essential expenses.
After reading this heading, you might be saying “hey, Grantwatch isn’t a provider of grants, it’s merely a database that displays all the options.” You would be right in saying this, but we thought we’d include it in our list nonetheless seeing as it’s a great place to find grants that are specific to veterans. All you have to do is specify in your search that you’re searching for grants that are relevant to veterans. The best part is that the grants displayed aren’t limited to veterans. In fact, as long as your business will benefit veterans in any way, you will be eligible for the grant. This is great for business who aren’t run by veterans but seek to aid them in a certain way.
For instance, you might be developing a new prosthetic that is going to help veteran amputees accomplish the tasks that were once mundane to them but have now become extremely difficult due to their disability. It’s always a good idea to have a look at Grantwatch when you’re trying to find some funding for your business, regardless of whether or not you’re a veteran.
5. StreetShares Foundation grants
The online lending company StreetShares has partnered up with one of the biggest banks in America. No, not Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase. $10,000 will be awarded to three recipients each month. Bear in mind that this is $10,000 total, not $10,000 to each recipient, but that’s still a lot of money that can give you a good start on your business. There are various criteria that will be used to determine who should receive the grant. These include the overall strength of their business idea, the level of impact that their business could have on the veterans community as a whole, and finally how much the funding could impact their lives on a personal level. These are the criteria that have been made public by StreetShares, but it is possible that there are other factors in play such as disabilities or length of service. We can’t say for sure though.
VetBiz is a website that is operated by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. It lets you register your business as one that is owned by a veteran. This makes it easier for you to win various government contracts that could help you expand your business. These federal contracts are often for large sums of money that you could use to increase inventory, open a new location, or improve your marketing campaign. Bear in mind that registering your business into this website fraudulently could lead to various penalties and perhaps even jail time in some cases. Don’t exploit this system that has been put in place to assist the brave men and women who served our country.
As you can see, while amassing wealth is very difficult during active duty, you still have a chance to catch up by utilizing these various programs. The country has a deep respect for the veterans that have given years or decades of their lives just to serve the nation, and as such, there are actually more opportunities available to fund your business than you’d think. Furthermore, you can also enroll yourself in various free courses through the use of these programs. Whether you’re trying to raise funds, gain new knowledge, or do a little bit of both, the programs listed above are sure to help you out. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two, and thank you for serving our country.