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SBA Announces New Initiative to Help Veterans Become Entrepreneurs

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The SBA has announced a new initiative aimed at aiding veterans build successful businesses.

The new Veteran Pledge Initiative will combine efforts by national, regional, and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by 5 percent each year in the coming five years.

According to the SBA’s press release, veterans face challenges when raising capital and getting business loans. The SBA expects that the Initiative will help 2,000 veterans obtain business loans over the next five years thanks to an additional $475 million being made available for lending.

Dennis E. Byrne, SBA spokesman, told loans.org that the SBA is working to ensure that veteran entrepreneurs have easier access to capital in order to grow businesses.

“Approximately 120 of SBA's lending partners, who are among the country's top national, regional and community banks, as well as our network of CDCs, are setting targets to increase lending to veterans and veteran-owned small businesses by 5 percent a year for the next five years, enabling SBA to serve an additional 2,000 veterans and increase lending to this community by $475 million over the five years,” said Byrne.

The Initiative is designed to fill the market gap for veterans who are oftentimes unable to find financing. Byrne said that this is just a continuation of efforts to support the men and women who are returning from active duty. Recent past efforts include increasing contracting opportunities for service-disabled veterans and launching entrepreneurship education programs.

“The Vet Pledge Initiative is not a new loan program, it simply signifies a greater commitment by financial institutions to work with veterans and produce more loans,” said Byrne.

He detailed how the SBA backed $2.1 billion in business loan financing for 2,800 veteran-owned businesses in 2012 as part of its Patriot Express Loan Program. Under the terms of the Patriot Express Loan Program, veteran business loan borrowers can obtain up to $500,000 in financing. Even more beneficial is the fact that Patriot Express business loans can be used for startups, expansions, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory, and business-occupied real-estate purchases.

Interested veterans can apply for business loans by calling their local SBA District office. Veterans can learn more about the initiative by visiting http://www.sba.gov/veterans.

(Quotes from Mr. Byrne obtained by Isaac Juarez)