Alabama VetStart – Veteran Assistance Program
Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are valuable opportunities for transitioning service members and veterans. Each year, more than 250,000 service members transition out of the military. Transitioning veterans are natural entrepreneurs who possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses and create jobs.
SBA’s Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup supports veterans as they grow businesses and create jobs by building on the Alabama SBDC Network’s role as a leader in entrepreneurship training. Contact one of our professional business advisors today for assistance with pre-deployment planning, starting a new business, financing your business, or contracting and certification. The Boots to Business training is specifically for transitioning service members and is only offered on base. A modified version of the program is available to all veterans, regardless of service status.
Many incentive programs offer support for military veterans opening or growing a business, and Alabama’s SBDC business advisors can help. Here are a few tips for getting started:
No-Cost Business Advising:
Veteran-owned businesses make significant contributions to the economy and because of their unique technical and leadership skills acquired through military service, they can become successful entrepreneurs. The Alabama SBDC Network has helped over 1,100 veteran-owned businesses, including hundreds of businesses owned by Service-Disabled Veterans, over the last three years, and has been serving Alabama’s veterans since 1980. If you are a veteran – or if you know of a veteran – that is interested in starting or growing a business, please give us a call – we’d like to help!
Access to Capital:
SBA had a near record year lending to veteran-owned small businesses in fiscal year 2011, with more than 4,300 loans totaling $1.5 billion in its flagship 7(a) and 504 programs. Since 2007, SBA’s Patriot Express loan pilot initiative alone has guaranteed loans of more than $667 million to nearly 8,100 veterans, reservists and their spouses to establish or expand their small businesses. The initiative, extended through 2013, provided more than 1,560 loans totaling $142 million in fiscal year 2011. Patriot Express is offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan approvals. The Patriot Express program is under-utilized in Alabama. Contact one of our small business finance specialists to learn how you can participate!
SBA worked with both contracting officers and veteran-owned small businesses to deliver the highest-ever percentage of federal contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses in FY2010, totaling $10.4 billion. Also, through parity legislation, SBA reestablished a level playing field for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses that compete with other small businesses for set-aside contracts. The Alabama SBDC Network’s Procurement Program (PTAC, or Procurement Technical Assistance Center) has helped service-disabled veteran-owned businesses win over $15 million in prime contracts over the last two years and has been helping Alabama’s veterans since 1988. Contact one of our procurement specialists to learn more! Our Procurement Program is dedicated to serving Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their Dependents or Survivors.
Contact one of our counselors to learn about a voluntary effort of International Franchise Association member-companies designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans. To date, over 400 franchise companies participate in the program. Please contact us for company profiles and information on the financial incentives available to veterans.