Entrepreneurial Resources for Transitioning Military
There are numerous benefits and programs available to transitioning military looking to start their own business or purchase a franchise. While funding a new business or franchise can be a large investment, by maximizing the financial and program benefits offered, you can make the transition much more smooth and seamless. Transitioning military have the excellent training, experience and leadership necessary to start and run successful businesses. Here are some programs that can help you get started.
The SBA’s Veteran Business Outreach Centers are a great resource for entrepreneurs
The Veterans Business Outreach Program (VBOP) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, mentoring and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting their own business. The SBA includes 16 organizations that participate in this cooperative agreement and serve as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC). Centers provide pre-business plan workshops, business plan preparation, comprehensive feasibility analysis, entrepreneurial training and counseling, mentorship, and assistance and training in international trade, franchising, internet marketing and accounting.
The SBA Express Loan Program offers significant financing benefits to transitioning military
Through the end of September 2014, the SBA has waived the upfront borrower fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express Loan Program. The program supports loans of up to $350,000. Additionally, through the end of the fiscal year, fees on all loans of up to $150,000 are also set to zero. Another positive feature of the Express Loan Program is that it has an accelerated turnaround period for SBA review. Potential borrowers receive a response to their applications within 36 hours. With the quick turnaround, simple process and easy-to-use line of credit, it’s the SBA’s most popular loan. Since the program began, it has also been one of the most popular methods for getting capital into the hands of veteran borrowers.
For more programs and resources, financing information and other resources, the SBA’s Veteran and Service-Disabled Veteran Small Business Guide is a great resource.
IFA’s VetFran helps transitioning military buy and run a successful franchise
The International Franchise Association’s (IFA) VetFran program helps returning service members access franchise opportunities through training, financial assistance and industry support. VetFran has grown to include more than 580 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives and mentoring to prospective veteran franchise small business owners. VetFran offers a free toolkit that includes a Franchising 101 online course, finance assessment, workbook for prospective franchise owners and partner links. U.S. military veterans can also access the VetFran Mentor Network and get advice and mentorship from experienced franchise professionals.
The IFA Educational Foundation and the PepsiCo Foundation have also established the VetFran Business Grant Fund with the purpose of assisting veterans who have been awarded a franchise through the IFA VetFran program by providing financial grants for business development, education, training and technical assistance. The fund will provide financial grants of up to $10,000 per grant to qualified VetFran franchisees and candidates. To qualify, candidates must be franchisees of a franchise company participating in the VetFran program. Candidates must have received an honorable discharge from any branch of the U.S. military or Coast Guard.
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