Every veteran knows that the key to success in any mission is preparation and having the tools necessary to complete the job.
Success in the world of small business ownership is no different. Every start-up begins with a thoroughly researched strategy—the business plan—and resources to carry it out, among the most important of which is financing.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no grant programs or other sources of “free government money” available to aspiring small business owners. However, veterans and other members of the military community can take advantage of a variety of low-interest loan programs tailored specifically for their needs.
Among the most popular of these is the Patriot Express Loan Pilot Loan Initiative, created by the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide expedited loans of up to $500,000 via a nationwide network of lenders. To qualify, a business must meet the SBA’s 7(a) loan eligibility requirements, and be at least 51-percent owned and controlled by veterans or members of the military community.
Patriot Express loans feature the SBA’s lowest business loan interest rates—generally 2.25 to 4.75 percent over prime depending upon the loan’s size and maturity. The loan can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, purchases of equipment and/or inventory, working capital, or business-occupied real-estate purchases. Following approval by the lender, most Patriot Express applications receive SBA approval within 24 hours.
Patriot Express is available to military community members including veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program, reservists, and National Guard members, as well as their spouses. A widowed spouse of a service member or veteran, who died during service, or of a service-connected disability, may also apply.
For reservists who are already small business owners and expect to be called-up, the SBA and its resource partners can help with preparing their businesses before deployment, managing their businesses, selling goods and services to the government, obtaining other SBA financing and financial assistance, and obtaining loans for economic injury. Military Reserve Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide up to $2 million for small businesses sustaining economic injury because an owner or essential employee has been called to active duty as a military reservist.
Veterans can learn more about financing and other small business issues from Raleigh SCORE, a non-profit association that offers information resources, training, and free, confidential counseling. For more information, call us at 919-856-4739 or visit our website at http://raleigh.score.org.