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According to data, 9.1 percent of businesses are majority-owned by veterans. In actuality, 1 out of every 4 veterans proceeds to build their own businesses after getting honorably discharged from the service. If you are a veteran, this article will discuss why it is important to verify military service status so that you can take advantage of government support for your Veteran-Owned Small Business.
Why Entrepreneurship Suits Veterans
Most people have seen the beloved Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump. In the movie, Forrest Gump and his friend, Lieutenant Dan, gain much success in the shrimping business with a little luck and boatloads of determination. For the Lieutenant Dan character, this is a turning point because the triumph of the shrimping business turns his depression upside down and gives him a renewed purpose in life. (It also helps that he enjoys the support of such a devoted friend as Forrest.)
Discipline and integrity are drilled hard into each person who serves in the military. These are the same core principles that make veterans particularly fit for entrepreneurship upon completion of military obligations. Even for veterans who become disabled like Lieutenant Dan, (if a fictional story is of any inspiration), disability gained from active duty is no hindrance to entering this new path in life. You will even find that there are particular government benefits you can take advantage of to support your chosen endeavor.
Veteran-Owned Small Business
Just as the terminology implies, a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) is one that is run by a veteran. He or she must have the highest position in the company and work full-time during operations. And in case the business is composed of a partnership, the veteran owner must have an at least 51% stake in the company. As long as the veteran was honorably discharged by the military, he or she can start a venture in any industry and register it as a VOSB. This application is made through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The whole process can take up to 90 days and can even still be appealed in case the company is found ineligible.
Veteran-owned or not, however, making the foray into commerce is still a huge risk, and that is why startups deserve all the help they can get. And since businesses are fueled by money, the first impediment a veteran might encounter is access to capital after getting discharged from the military. A lot of veterans actually cite insufficient credit history and collateral for their financial difficulty. That is why it is ideal that when the decision to open a business is made, the company is registered as a VOSB.
As the operator of a VOSB, you gain access to preferential interest rates for bank loans so that you can raise capital for your endeavors. The Small Business Administration (SBA) may even completely waive interest via a grant for your business. Through the SBA, the government also extends extra support in case permanent injury during active military service has left you with a disability. The SBA can give you certification as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). And with this accreditation, your company stands out from the competition when you bid on government contracts for federal or state projects.
While military training was able to provide veterans with the work ethic and management skills essential for running businesses, entrepreneurship is still a wholly different discipline. In this regard, the SBA also offers educational courses like Boots to Business and the Veteran Entrepreneurship Program. These training supplies veterans with all the business fundamentals they need for their newfound adventure.
Armed with Support
Where government aid ends, the community is able to step forward. Serving your country by way of the military is considered by many as one of the highest forms of patriotism. A lot of people advocate for veterans by supporting their small businesses, and today, there are various directories for veteran-owned businesses to be found online, making it easier for one to contact trustworthy and commendable companies.
The American dream might be different for everyone. For some, it is a white picket fence around the perfect country home. For others, it is simply the ability to carve your own path and succeed in the business of your choosing. Because of the very sacrifice that veterans have made for the country, they only deserve to be awarded with all the resources warranted for attaining their own American dream. They are already equipped with the perseverance and leadership necessary for business; all they need is that further boost. Like Lieutenant Dan, they won’t be able to do that by themselves. But with some help from the government and the very communities that they worked hard to protect, they can be armed to succeed whether what they like is investing in the shrimping business or some “fruit-inspired” companies.