American heroes are taking their entrepreneurial spirit and turning it into thriving small businesses, thanks in part to increased federal loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). In 2023, the SBA provided $1.1 billion in support to over 2,800 veteran-owned companies, representing a 40% increase in funding and a 33% increase in loan numbers since 2020. This growth reflects the continued trend of veterans starting their own businesses.
SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman attributes this growth to the agency’s commitment to simplifying access, reducing red tape, and expanding outreach to meet entrepreneurs’ needs. The country has around 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses that employ about 5.5 million Americans, making them a significant portion of the country’s workforce.
President Joe Biden recognized this importance by signing 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 (VBOCs) to its existing network of 22 sites. As part of its outreach efforts around Veterans Day, Guzman attended the opening ceremony of one new VBOC in Long Beach, California earlier this month, with another set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
The SBA has also launched a new 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.