Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the kickoff of Veterans Small Business Week, an initiative on the part of SBA to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners. Veterans Small Business Week, held from Nov. 4-11, is part of SBA's work throughout the year to make sure the nation's veterans have the tools and capital they need to start or grow a business.
"Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country," said Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit. "SBA's Veterans Small Business Week is so exciting because it really shines a light on what makes our nation strong. Veterans are highly skilled and highly trained leaders in their communities; it makes sense that after serving their country they would want to bring these skills back home and start businesses. Our job at the SBA is to make sure veterans know what tools and programs are out there to help them achieve their dreams."
During Veterans Small Business Week, SBA staff all across the country will be working with partner organizations on educational efforts, mentoring and trainings for veterans. SBA provides veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In fiscal year 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. And since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.
According to SBA's Buffalo District Director Franklin J. Scirotino, the SBA backed 39 loans to veteran-owned businesses throughout Western New York for a total of $7.2 million during the agency's fiscal year 2013. This was a 22 percent increase over the number of loans and an 18 percent increase over the dollar volume that veterans received last year throughout the region.
"America's veterans have the necessary leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners," Sciortino said. "Veteran's Day is the perfect time for the SBA to renew its commitment to the millions of veterans and service members across the country and right here in Western New York."
Sciortino noted the SBA works closely with the Veterans Business Outreach Center located at Buffalo State College to provide business training and counseling on a variety of topics that include: business planning; best ways to analyze your competition; financing your business; legal strategies that advance your business; and small business services. Veterans interested in accessing these services should contact John McKeone, veterans outreach coordinator, at 716-878-4030 or at [email protected].
According to the U.S. Census, veterans are a significant part of the small business community. Nearly one in 10 small businesses is veteran-owned, and the nation's 2.4 million veteran-owned small businesses employ almost 6 million people, while generating more than $1 trillion in receipts. In the private sector, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.
SBA currently engages veterans through its 68 local SBA district offices, 15 veterans business outreach centers nationwide, its partnership with 63 small business development centers with more than 900 outreach locations, and 12,000 SCORE volunteers. Each year, SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.