Committing to Helping Veteran-Owned Businesses Succeed

In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson designated November 11 as Armistice Day to remember the heroism of those who died in service to our country during World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation expanding the scope of the federal holiday to include World War II and Korean War Veterans. In doing so, he said, “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom.” 

In 1971 Congress changed the date of observance to the fourth Monday in October. In following years, state legislatures, veteran’s groups, and the American people pressured Congress to return to the original date. Ultimately, they succeeded. In 1975, President Ford signed legislation authorizing the change. The nation’s observance of Veterans Day reverted to the original date of November 11, 1978. 

It can be tough adjusting to civilian life after leaving the military. Veterans with an entrepreneurial spirit often open businesses. According to the Small Business Association, there are 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses. The government and many non-profit organizations are committed to helping veteran-owned operations succeed in response to the growing need for support and resources.

National Veterans Small Business Week (October 31 to November 4) 
Starting October 31, The SBA, resource partners, and local organizations will highlight various aspects of the entrepreneurial journey for veteran small business owners. Information will be presented in in-person and virtual formats. Topics include transition assistance, entrepreneurial training, government contracting, disaster assistance, and access to capital resources. Currently, over 100 virtual events are free and open to the public.

“Each year, we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week to honor America’s nearly two million veteran entrepreneurs who have answered our nation’s call to serve and protect us and are now making a difference every day for local communities and our nation’s economy,” said Administrator Guzman. Visit sba.gov/nvsbw for the full schedule of activities.

SBA Office of Veterans Business Development
This handy resource has what you need to know about special programs and initiatives designed to help veterans. According to the department’s website, the mission of the Office of Veterans Business Development is to “maximize the availability, applicability and usability of all administration small business programs for veterans, service-disabled veterans, reserve component members, and their dependents or survivors.”

Veteran-Owned Business Directory (Veteranownedbusiness.com)

Launched on Veterans Day 2008, this user-friendly free resource is a directory of small, medium, and large businesses owned by veterans, service-disabled veterans, active- duty military, reservists, and military spouses. It enables Americans in the United States and abroad to search for products and services made, sold, and serviced by veteran business owners, service-disabled veteran business owners, active-duty military business owners, military reservists, and military/veteran spouse business owners.

  • 37,000 Members
  • 400,000 Supporters
  • 50 million visitors

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB)
This program is designed for those veterans who were disabled during military service. It aims to help business owners access at least 3% of available federal contract dollars annually. Certain federal contract funds are only available to members of the SDVOSB program.

Street Shares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
Veterans are encouraged to apply for a grant through the non-profit Street Shares Foundation. The grant program awards three different grants through its Military Entrepreneur Challenge:

  • First place: $15,000
  • Second place: $6,000
  • Third place: $4,000
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In addition to cash awards, the first-place recipient can take advantage of $25,000 worth of pro-bono legal service. Each finalist also receives a $1,000 scholarship to the Synergy Learning Institute. Sign up for the foundation’s newsletter for the most current updates.

Warrior Rising Small Business Grants
Whether you’re a veteran starting a new business or looking for funding to grow an existing company, you may want to research Warrior Rising Small Business Grants. The non-profit program, founded in Utah in 2015, provides business grants and mentorship to eligible veteran entrepreneurs. Businesses can apply online. 

Grants.gov
Grants.gov can be a reliable resource for many different types of small business owners, including veterans. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) governs the database that features more than 1,000 grant programs from various federal agencies. Collectively, those agencies award more than $500 billion in grant funding each year.

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