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Business Grants for Veterans
Veterans play a substantial role in the American economy. After they hang up their uniforms, tens of thousands of veterans choose to start their own businesses, many of which grow to become highly successful. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Veteran-owned companies currently employ over 5 million people today.
If you’re a veteran and attempting to start your own business, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is financing it, especially as you’re just starting out. Getting the expertise that you need to make your business successful is critical, too.
Fortunately, there are many grant programs available for veterans that could be just what you need to get your business out of the starting gate and accelerate its success.
Here are some of the best small business grants for veterans that are available today.
VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
If you are a service-disabled veteran and self-employed, you may be eligible for funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is designed to assist service-veterans with gaining and maintaining long term employment and independence.
Beyond the vocational training, counseling, and job placement services this program provides veterans access to, VR&E eligible veterans may be eligible for cash payments within the program as well, which can help eligible self-employed veterans live independently while getting their business idea off the ground.
If you’re a service-disabled veteran entrepreneur, you should definitely check this program out.
Hivers and Strivers
If you’re a graduate of one of the nation’s national military academies, you should definitely check out Hivers and Strivers.
This angel investment fund specializes in providing early-stage investments to support start-up companies founded and run by graduates of the United States’ Military Academies.
Hivers and Strivers invest, on average, between $250,000 and $1,000,000 in equity investment in a single round.
While this is an equity investment program and not a grant, this is a great organization to look at as a potential financing source if you meet their eligibility criteria.
The StreetShares Foundation, established in 2016, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to inspire, educate, and support the military entrepreneurial community.”
StreetShares provides a wide range of critical assistance to veteran entrepreneurs; it also has a grant program called the Veteran’s Small Business Award, which awards $4000-$15,000 each year to the 8 to 15 finalists who are selected for the grant.
There are some eligibility requirements, and this year’s applications for the grant are due on October 3, so read more about this grant program now to see if your eligible to compete for it since it offers a great opportunity for veteran entrepreneurs.
Warrior Rising is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans succeed as entrepreneurs.
The organization offers comprehensive training and mentorship programs to help veterans succeed as entrepreneurs, as well as critical networking opportunities.
Warrior Rising can also assist veterans to obtain critical funding as well. While the organization does not provide grants directly, it can help its members find grants they’re eligible for and arm them with the tools they need to win them.
Additionally, the training, education, and mentoring they provide can help veteran entrepreneurs gain the tools they need to make their businesses succeed as well.
While Idea Café is not specifically a grant program for veterans, any veteran entrepreneur looking for sources of funding should definitely check this organization out.
Idea Café provides small ($1000) grants Idea Café grants while small, is free and simple to apply for, so even if you don’t actually win one, you also do not have to invest a great deal of time and effort into the application process, either.
The organization’s website is also a great resource for entrepreneurs, too. They offer free templates for business plans, as well as articles and other information about critical aspects of running a business as well, so definitely check Idea Café out.
Other Places to Look for Business Grants For Veterans
While all of these grants, training, and investing programs are good, they are definitely not the only places veterans should look to find financing for their small businesses.
There are great resources out there that make it much easier for veterans to find programs tailored specifically for them. For example, GrantWatch is a search engine that veterans can find grant programs that they might be eligible for.
Additionally, Grants.gov is a great resource for search all of the government grant programs that are out there as well. Finally, there are paid search tools like GovTribe that, with a modest subscription fee, can help you search for grants you may be eligible for as well.
Finding the Right Veteran Business Grant or Financing Program Right Now
If you’re a veteran entrepreneur, you have opportunities to pursue grants that could give you an edge over competitors, most of whom are not eligible for government, nonprofit and private sector grant programs specially tailored to veterans.
Grants could provide your business the cash flow you need to launch your company and make it successful. So, take the initiative like you did when you wore a uniform, and try to find a veteran business grant that might be a good fit for your company today.
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