Top 10 Benefits Available for Veteran-Owned Businesses in the U.S.

Samir Sampat

If you’re a veteran and you own a business, there are some perks that you’re privy to that you may be unaware of. Not only that, but small businesses are the entire backbone of our economy and there are more than 2.52 million of them that are majority veteran-owned. Because veterans have served their country, the government feels it is only fair to recognize their sacrifices and service by helping them access the resources that they need and providing them with plenty of opportunities and benefits along the way. 

The caveat is that you have to register as a veteran-owned business. Also known as a VSOB, this option is available through the Small Business Administration. The biggest qualification is that 51% of the business needs to be operated and owned by a veteran. Of course, you also have to fall within the SBA’s qualification guidelines as a small business. 

This includes limits on the amount of revenue you can earn, as well as the number of employees you can have and other factors. After you’ve registered as a proper VOSB, you will be able to find government contracts, funding, and other benefits that are only available to small businesses owned by veterans. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a great resource for small businesses, offering funding support, training, contracting opportunities, and much more. Their goal is to promote veterans in entrepreneurship through the Office of Veterans Business Development. Of course, you’ll also find other benefits and perks all over the place when you are a veteran-owned small business. 

In the list below, we’ll look at the top 10 benefits that should be on your list to cash in on when you are looking to maximize your position as a VOSB. 


The benefits you need to look into


Veterans Business Outreach Center Program 


This is an initiative that’s sponsored by the Office of Veterans Business Development. It features success stories, along with mentorship and training, business plan workshops, assessments, and so much more. Eligible veterans will be able to engage in this program around the country, no matter where they are located, by contacting their nearest VBOC. This program ensures that people have the skills and tools to manage and run a business effectively to maximize their chances of success as a veteran business owner. 


SBA Veterans Advantage 7(a) Loan


This is a loan program that is provided by the Small Business Administration. It's all about helping veterans start and grow their own businesses. A lot of people choose this loan for its low interest rates and lack of an up-front guarantee required on loans under $125,000, as well as the fact that you’ll get 50% off the fee when you have a loan between $125,000 and $350,000. This ensures veterans have the quick access to capital that they need so they can purchase or rent real estate, invest in equipment and supplies, hire employees, and so much more. 


Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program


This is a special program that allows companies to qualify for special loans if their employees are called to active duty. There are restrictions on this, including that the employee must be deemed “essential”, but if you qualify, you may be able to get up to $2 million in loan funds just because you’ve got essential employees that are called up for active duty. 


VA Government Contracts


There are special government contracts that are set aside just for small businesses that are owned by veterans. Supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans First Contracting Program supports veterans by providing this special access. You have to be verified as part of the Vets First Verification program, but that’s a simple task. Once you’re verified, you’ll be able to find contacts that only veteran-owned businesses can bid on, giving you a better chance at getting good contracts than if you were competing with the masses. 


Hivers and Strivers 


The Hivers and Strivers program is an angel investing program that is set up to help military academy graduates start a business. The group invests funds ranging from $250,000 to $1 million, and many of the investors are actually veterans themselves. Anyone who is a recent military academy graduate with a business idea can apply on the Hivers and Strivers website, where you’ll also find a full list of rules, terms and conditions, and more. 


The Service-Disabled VSOB Program


This particular program is even more of a niche than the original government contracting program, as it caters specifically to veterans who were disabled during their service. They can bid on a special 3% of government contracts that no one else has access to. Of course, there are qualifications required for this, including that one or more employees are service-disabled and involved in long-term business decisions and day-to-day operations (managers or leaders). The disability must be service-related, however, so be sure to note that. The SBA website has a full explanation of this program and its requirements. 


Veteran Readiness and Employment Program


This program is sponsored by the Department of Veteran Affairs and is designed to ensure that service-disabled veterans can find and maintain employment once their service has ended. There are several tracks for this program that can take people to various careers, including the Self-Employment Track, which helps service-disabled veterans start their own businesses and provides all kinds of resources to help with business planning and more. 


Boots to Business 


This is an entrepreneurial program that is offered at various military installations around the globe. This is a training track to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program, which helps veterans get their hands in the business world once their service has ended. There's also a Boots to Business Reboot that helps extend training to veterans from all areas throughout various communities. 


Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program


This program offers entrepreneurial training for women service members, spouses of service members, and veterans who want to grow or start a small business. The Small Business Administration is responsible for funding these training programs, which are available exclusively for women only. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Leadership (V-WISE) program is one, but there is also the Lift Fund – San Antonio and ONABEN, which all serve to provide funds and support for women veterans, servicemembers, and spouses as they start their business endeavors.


Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program


This training program focuses specifically on teaching veterans the skills related to careers in federal procurement. This will allow them to get involved with government contracts as a way to help start and grow their small business. This program hinges on the fact that government contracts are already a great business avenue and takes it one step further to offer a career in procurement that relates to these contracts. It provides full hands-on training and support and is offered around the country. 


Other Perks of Running a Veteran-Owned Business 


Of course, in addition to all of these programs and perks, there are plenty of other reasons to consider running a business like this. A veteran-owned business gives you easier access to specialty SBA loans and grants, government contracts, and more. You'll also find:

  • Franchising benefits available for veterans who open a franchise or decide to turn their business into a franchise
  • Exclusive use of your best skillset in keeping the business running smoothly
  • Tax incentives for VOSBs
  • Veteran-focused workshops and training
  • A Veterans’ Small Business Week 

These are just a few of the biggest perks that come from getting your hands in the game of owning a business as a veteran. If you want to give it a try, take a look at the tips below. 


Tips for Success as a Veteran-Owned Business 


Every business is different and is going to have different needs. It will be up to you to figure out how to build a successful business, but you’re not in this alone. There are tons of resources for veterans today, including other veterans just like you who have done it before you and who are willing to offer their insight and expertise. In that vein, here are some of the top tips for success as a veteran-owned small business. 


  1. Learn the Best Practices of Entrepreneurship. You are already adept at acquiring new skills quickly and in unsetting circumstances. You can take this ability into your business and educate yourself using the business fundamentals courses that are available and the SBA Learning Center’s online course catalog. You’ll find everything from pricing strategies to social media marketing and everything in between. if you want to succeed in business, first you have to know how. 


  1. Find a mentor that you can connect with. It’s best to learn from experience, but when you don’t have any, where do you turn? Veterans are always more than willing to help out a fellow servicemember, so take advantage of the mentors available to you. Find people who have come before you in business success or consider your local VBOC or SBA members and what they can offer to help you learn more about your role as a veteran business owner. 


  1. Leverage the network of resources you have. Every veteran-owned small business has a much larger network than they know. Consider taking advantage of any and all networking opportunities that you can find, from LinkedIn groups to Meetups, and so much more. The Internet is a great resource to connect you with other veterans in the business community. Take advantage of that when you can. 


  1. Plan, but keep agility in mind. A solid plan is necessary for business success. Too rigid, though, and it could actually set you up to fail even harder than you would have in the first place. Be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice and choose a balance that promotes flexibility and a reputable structure simultaneously to get the best response from your audience. People don’t want you to look like a scatterbrained mess, but they also don’t want a plan so strictly that you don’t have room for adjustments. 


  1. Find a mission or cause. A lot of veterans are mission-oriented, looking for a way to give back or even pay it forward. If you can find a way to start a business and give back to your local community or military community, you’ll stay motivated, fulfill your goals, and create the business that you’ve always dreamed of. Then, you’ll be able to focus on getting those extra funds and taking advantage of the perks above. 


Mission Critical Solutions from Smith.ai 


At Smith.ai, our mission is to make your mission easier. We do that by tailoring a plan to suit your communication needs, whether that includes live website chat, after-hours phone answering, or anything else. Plus, we’ll be able to integrate with your CRM and other software to keep things streamlined. 

Smith.ai understands the value of planning and being flexible and appreciates that there are so many flexible programs available for veterans today. We also understand that you’ve got a lot on your plate and you shouldn’t be left to tend to it on your own. Although your military skills have served you well in the past, now is the time that you need to hone them further to allow you to take your business to the next level. 

While you’re honing your entrepreneurial skills, let us hone your customer service solutions by providing you with a team of virtual receptionists to handle it all for you. We can be the face of your brand for lead intake and scheduling, Facebook and SMS message answering, payment collection, and so much more. 

You can learn more when you schedule a consultation to discuss our 24/7 virtual receptionists and how they can help streamline parts of your business so that you can focus on reaping the rewards given to you as a veteran. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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