More initiatives created to assist returning veteran entrepreneurs

Jessica SarterFranchise Finance

As more military veterans return home to a somewhat stifled economy, several organizations have created initiatives to help the demographic succeed in business. The Small Business Administration recently announced a new program, titled Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, that will add extra support to veterans who want to start a new business venture.

The SBA notes that veterans own about 9 percent of all U.S. firms, representing almost 2.5 million businesses that employ 5.75 million workers. The new program will expand on the SBA’s partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), which offers returning servicemen entrepreneurial training.

While the SBA and IVMF already have three operational programs geared toward veterans, this new campaign will ensure that all returning military personnel are offered programs to advance their knowledge of small business ownership.

The SBA further offers Patriot Express Loans, which can be used for myriad business functions, including equipment purchases, working capital, expansion, general management, disaster recovery, inventory and startup costs.

Other organizations also offer substantial support to returning veterans with entrepreneurial aspirations. The International Franchise Association’s VetFran program was created to support servicemen and women through franchise entrepreneur matters, as well as general small business ownership responsibilities.

The IFA notes that U.S. Census data shows that veterans own 66,000 franchise businesses, accounting for the employment of more than 800,000 citizens. Further, these franchisees contribute more than $40 billion to the GDP. BoeFly is a proud member of the IFA’s VetFran initiative.

BoeFly provides the added support through its lender-borrower matching platform. This ensures veterans looking to acquire adequate financing to start a franchise location are obtaining those funds from the best-suited lenders, per the borrower’s specific needs. Additionally, BoeFly currently boasts more than 2,200 participating lenders, while just one loan application will reach all applicable financiers.

The most recent IFA/BoeFly Franchise Lending Index suggests that now is an excellent time to begin the application process for financing. The index, which uses data from BoeFly’s massive marketplace and the SBA, showed an increase of 5.73 percent from May to June of this year. This represented year-over-year growth of 4.5 percent for franchise loan distribution.

The IFA also partners with several franchised businesses in an initiative called Operation Enduring Opportunity. This program was created to recruit and hire as many as 75,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of next year. The UPS Store extended the financial incentives last month by about $300,000, as the success of the program has been unmistakable.

Between the government’s initiatives, as well as those of the IFA, BoeFly, and other entities, veterans, who are widely considered to be perfect candidates to own and operate small businesses and franchise locations, should seriously consider the advantages of entrepreneurial pursuits.