According to a recent Small Business Administration (SBA) report, veteran-owned firms represent about 9.1% of all U.S. firms. When you consider that there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States, the number of veteran-owned businesses is staggering. Veterans of the armed services are highly-trained professionals who are conditioned to operate under stressful situations, lead others and delegate responsibility when necessary; this skill set makes them ideal small business owners.
The Coalition for Veteran-Owned Business reports that 26% of veterans want to start a business, but only 6% actually do. A lack of business financing options for veterans may be one of the dominant reasons why so many veterans who wish to start a business, do not. The good news is that there are a number of loan programs and lenders that cater to financing veteran-owned businesses.
Government Guaranteed Financing
SBA financing is a government guaranteed lending program that offers certain incentives and discounts to veteran-owned businesses. The SBA doesn’t actually provide the financing, but it guarantees the loans that participating lenders make. One firm that specializes in providing SBA loans to veteran-owned businesses is SmartBiz. 6% of the SBA loans SmartBiz provides are to majority-owned veteran small businesses, a significant figure when compared to the national average of only 4%. Although SmartBiz does not provide startup financing, it does provide low interest rate loans from $30,000 to $5 million under the SBA 7(a) program. Because SmartBiz is the #1 online marketplace for SBA loans (the firm has provided over $1 billion of SBA loans) it has proficient expertise in securing the correct SBA financing for veteran-owned businesses. For those veteran-owned businesses that don’t qualify for SBA financing, SmartBiz offers competitive bank term loans from $30,000 to $200,000.
South End Capital offers subprime SBA financing from $30,000 to $20+ million and its program carries less stringent credit score requirements (550 credit score minimum) and more flexible underwriting when compared to other SBA loan providers. Even though South End Capital’s SBA program is geared toward non-conforming business owners that don’t qualify for SBA financing from more traditional lenders, its interest rates and loan terms are just as competitive. South End Capital will waive its underwriting fee for veteran-owned businesses saving them up to $2,500. South End Capital will also finance business purchases, business property construction and renovation, and unique SBA loan types other lenders overlook.
Fountainhead is a direct lender specializing in the SBA 504, SBA 7(a) and < 65% LTV commercial real estate loans from $250,000 to $20+ million. Although Fountainhead’s programs are skewed toward established businesses and conforming borrowers, the company will consider startup loans and non-conforming borrowers with healthy businesses. Fountainhead is an industry leader in SBA financing and its team has funded over $23 billion to small businesses, including many owned by veterans. Until December 31st, 2019, Fountainhead is offering veterans and first responders up to a $5,000 credit toward third-party reports such as an appraisal, environmental or survey. Fountainhead finances most industries and a variety of loan purposes including working capital, commercial real estate purchase or refinance, construction, debt consolidation, startup financing, and more.
Fast and Affordable Financing
For those veteran-owned businesses requiring more urgent funding (SBA loans usually take 30 to 90 days), there is still a flexible and affordable option. Fundbox provides business credit lines and invoice financing to veteran-owned businesses, requires no tax returns or paperwork, has no credit score minimum and rates start at an industry low 0.4% (that’s only $4 in fees per $1,000 financed). Fundbox has an easy online application, the approval review process takes as little as 3 minutes, and funds can be provided the next business day. Since Fundbox has very few business type restrictions, veterans operating in a wide array of industries may be eligible for financing through Fundbox. Financing from $1,000 to $100,000 is available for veteran-owned businesses through Fundbox, and businesses only need to be in operation for 3 months to be eligible.
No matter what stage your veteran-owned business is in, there are lenders and loan programs out there. Because you have a veteran-owned business, you may also be eligible for decreased loan fees and other benefits. Whichever lender you choose, be sure to announce upfront that you are a veteran so you don’t miss out on any incentives.
If you operate a veteran-owned business and are interested in SBA financing, contact our recommended providers SmartBiz and South End Capital. If your veteran-owned business is in need of fast working capital and affordable terms, contact Fundbox.