SBA Loans for Veterans

Written by

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Published on

Sunday, June 16, 2024

SBA Loans for Veterans


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a robust set of programs and services aimed at helping veterans start, grow, and expand small businesses. From specialized training courses to government contracts to financing options, veterans have a wide range of SBA resources available as they pursue entrepreneurship and business ownership. This article will provide an overview of key SBA assistance for veterans, including training opportunities, loan programs, contracting help, expert business advice, and more.

Training Programs for Veterans

To set veterans up for success as small business owners, the SBA supports a number of educational programs tailored specifically to service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. Courses are offered both online and in-person at locations across the country.

Boots to Business Training Series

The Boots to Business training series is open to transitioning service members and consists of three parts:

Boots to Business: A 2-day introductory entrepreneurship course offered as part of the Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program (TAP). It is available on over 180 military installations worldwide.

Boots to Business Reboot: An extended 8-week online course for veterans of all eras, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military spouses. It provides more in-depth training to turn a business idea into an actual business model.

Boots to Business Revenue Readiness: The Revenue Readiness course helps participants gain an understanding of what it takes to launch and grow a successful business. It builds on concepts from the Boots to Business courses.

Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program

SBA funding also supports entrepreneurship training tailored specifically for women veterans and military spouses. Current grant recipients offering training include:

- IVMF Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE)

- Utah Veteran Business Resource Center – Startup Training Resources to Inspire Veteran Entrepreneurship (STRIVE)

- ONABEN – Beyond the Boots: A Veteran and Service Member Initiative

Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training

For veterans injured in the line of duty seeking self-employment, the SBA provides grants to organizations like the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans at St. Joseph’s University, Warrior Rising nonprofit, and the Veteran Entrepreneurial Training & Resource Network (VETRN).

Resources for Military Spouses

Military spouses can take advantage of entrepreneurship training, counseling, and other education through the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership and its Women's Business Center Network. Flexible resources available to veteran business owners are also open to military spouses.

Federal Procurement Training

For veteran-owned businesses interested in contracting, the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP) offers nationwide assistance. The Veteran Institute for Procurement is part of this effort and provides intensive training on federal sales.

SBA Loan Programs

Financing is often one of the biggest hurdles for veteran entrepreneurs. The good news is that SBA loans can offer the working capital, equipment purchases, and commercial real estate loans needed to start and grow a small business.

The SBA itself does not directly lend money, but instead sets guidelines for loans made by its partners like banks, credit unions, and other lenders. The agency also guarantees portions of these loans, meaning less risk for lenders and better chances for financing approval for veterans and other applicants.

Top SBA loan programs include:

7(a) Loans: The SBA's primary and most flexible loan option, 7(a) loans can be used for nearly any business purpose and offer low interest rates and long repayment terms. Loan amounts up to $5 million.

504 Loans: For major fixed assets like commercial real estate or heavy equipment. 504 loans offer low down payments and interest rates. Loan amounts up to $5 million.

Microloans: Small short-term loans up to $50,000 from non-profit lenders, ideal for startups and underserved communities. For more information on SBA microloans see our Guide to SBA Microloans

Meow can help veterans navigate the the process of obtaining an SBA Loans†. By working with a network of multiple partner banks, Meow helps streamline the application process and find a competitive rate for would-be borrowers.

†Meow is not a mortgage lender or broker or depository, bank or credit union. Meow provide guidance and support in securing SBA loans through authorized financial institutions.

In cases where an employee gets called to active military duty, the SBA Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan can provide funds to cover operating costs for an impacted small business. Qualifying businesses can borrow up to $2 million.

Government Contracting Opportunities

The federal government has yearly goals for awarding a portion of contracts to small businesses, including firms owned by veterans. This contracting assistance comes in a few different forms:

Set-Asides: Certain contracts at every agency are specifically set aside for competition among veteran-owned businesses.

Sole-Source: VOSBs/SDVOSBs may have access to sole-source contracts up to $5 million for goods and services.

Subcontracting: Prime contractors may receive credit for using a VOSB/SDVOSB subcontractor. This creates additional opportunities for veterans entering the federal market.

Surplus Property Transfer: Small businesses owned by veterans, service-disabled veterans, and military reservists may be eligible for surplus government equipment, supplies, and real estate through the Federal Surplus Property Program.

To be eligible for any federal contracting program, veteran-owned firms must first register in the System for Award Management (SAM) database and meet the criteria set by the VA's Vets First Verification Program.

Expert Business Advice

Navigating entrepreneurship as a veteran can have its challenges. The good news is that SBA Resource Partners provide mentoring, training, and counseling nationwide both in-person and virtually.

Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) offer the full range of assistance for startups and existing businesses owned by veterans, active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. Services include business training, counseling and mentoring, and assistance with procurement. There are 22 VBOC locations across the country, find the nearest one using the SBA's local assistance directory.

The SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development also has dedicated staff ready to answer any inquiries related to the agency's programs and services for veterans, including help accessing capital, entrepreneurship training, contracting, certification, and more.


Veteran entrepreneurs have given so much through their military service, and the SBA does its part to give back through impactful training programs, funding opportunities, federal contracts, and partnerships. This support system helps veterans apply the skills, determination, and leadership honed in the armed forces toward successful small business ventures.

Any veteran inspired to take their career in a new direction as a business owner should absolutely explore the SBA assistance covered above, along with state and local programs for veterans and entrepreneurs. America's veterans have the talent and passion to achieve their dreams. The SBA, along with public and private partners across the country, make crucial resources available so they can do just that by starting and growing businesses.

Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-insured depository institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

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