How Veterans Benefit Small Businesses

Veterans Day 2012 Kabul

Veterans Day Memorial Service at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquaters, Kabul, Aghanistan, November 11, 2012 [Photo Credit: CWO Frantisek Stein, CZE-A/ISAF Media]

Veterans benefit the country in a number of ways: from their duty to our country, to relief missions in disaster stricken areas home and abroad, to being a vital part of our economy, veterans provide us with a precious national resource.

Beyond their military service, veterans help the nation to grow economically in creating new businesses and in being a highly trained, highly capable pool of employees. Veterans are highly-skilled and their values not only provide leadership in the community but also the workplace.

Here’s how veterans benefit small businesses and how small businesses (and the government) are saying thank you in turn.

Veteran Small Business Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) just announced a new initiative under the SBA Express program. This initiative will serve to help more veterans receive loans to start their own small business. Starting January 1, 2014, the SBA will set the up-front borrower fee to zero for veterans. This applies to loans up to $350,000 under the SBA Express Loan Program.

The SBA’s Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative is set up exclusively for veterans: the small business has to be either owned or controlled (this means a majority stake of 51 percent or more) by eligible veterans. We’ve written about this program previously in our blog article featuring veteran loan programs. You can also learn more about the veteran requirements for the Patriot Express loan at the SBA’s website.

If you’re interested in finding a veteran-owned business near you, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association has a search available on their website.

Small Business Tax Credits For Hiring Veterans

If you are a small business owner, you may receive tax credits for hiring military veterans as employees. There are two tax credits available: the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit.

The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides small business incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans. The tax credit applies to both short-term unemployed veterans and long-term unemployed veterans

For veterans who have been injured while in service to our country, the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit takes the current Work Opportunity Tax Credit and doubles it to up to $9,600 for long-term unemployed veterans. Both the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit were extended to January 1, 2014.

Federal Student Loans For Veterans

In addition to the education and training received while enlisted, veterans can also obtain degrees that are funded, in part, by federal student loan programs. The most commonly referenced loan is under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). This is available for both active duty personnel as MGIB Active Duty as well as reservists under the MGIB-Selected Reserve program.

Veterans can also apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This bill provides not only financial support for education but also housing for those veterans with at least 90 days of collected service on or after September 11, 2001. This bill also applies to veterans who were discharged due to an injury suffered while in service.

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) help veterans and reservists in funding their education.

Whether you’re a veteran looking to further your education after serving, a veteran wanting to start a small business now that you’ve fulfilled your duty, or if you are a small business owner who is seeking out qualified employees, there are resources available to help. Veteran-owned businesses and hiring veteran employees are just two ways in which we continue to benefit from military veterans and their service to our country.