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Originally published on LinkedIn by OSD CEO and Executive Director, Glenn D. Banton Sr.

You’ve brainstormed, researched, and are almost ready to launch your business. How are you going to fund your new veteran-owned business? 

Starting a business doesn’t have to be expensive. Veterans typically need less than $50,000 to start their business. In fact, 51% report using $25,000 or less in capital for startup or acquisition. 

With the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), you have a trusted partner to help guide you through the process of accessing the capital you need to hit the ground running. 

Veterans typically need less than $50,000 to start their business. In fact, 51% report using $25,000 or less in capital for startup or acquisition.

Start with your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

Located at 22 locations across the country, VBOCs are your one-stop shop for resources on starting, purchasing, or growing your veteran-owned small business. They can prepare you to apply for a SBA-backed loan, walk you through available funding options, and connect you with different types of certified lenders. They also host business trainings and workshops and offer tailored business counseling and mentoring. 

Jilan Hall-Johnson, a military spouse, visited her local VBOC in Billings, MT when she was looking to start her own café or “bruncherie” Sassy Biscuit, Co. The Big Sky VBOC was ready to help and connected her with the resources she needed to successfully take her business from an idea to a fully baked business. 

They referred her to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in her area where she received additional assistance and counseling and registered for Boots to Business Reboot

With a solid foundation of business fundamentals under her belt, Jilan was ready to take the next step in her entrepreneurship journey. The SBDC worked with her on financial projections and helped her put together a loan package. Jilan applied for and received SBA 7(a) financing for $290,000. The SBDC and VBOC worked together to help Jilan apply for a local grant package that helped her receive over $13K in grant funding to help with leasehold improvements to her restaurant. 

Thanks to the network of resources, coupled with Jilan’s hard work and determination, Jilan and her active duty U.S. Marine Corps husband, DeMarco Johnson, now run their successful biscuit shop, which was recently visited by the Second Lady, Karen Pence.  

Are you ready to risk it for the biscuit, like Jilan? 

Visit your local VBOC or check out these resources to help prepare you to engage with SBA lending institutions, apply for loans, or connect with certified lenders: 

  1. Get in touch with a local SBA office. There are 68 SBA District Offices located across the country. From there, a business advisor can either guide you through the steps you need to take or refer you to a different qualified partner within the SBA network. 
  2. Explore SBA’s online tools. There are tons of resources on the SBA website that you can access whenever, wherever. Learn how to calculate your startup costs or even how to access funding as you grow your business.
  3. Take an entrepreneurial training course. Even if you already own a business, you may learn a few things you may have overlooked during the early stages of business growth. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans, operated by Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, opens the door to economic opportunity for veterans by developing their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

72% of EBV graduates have launched their own businesses, with 92% of those businesses still in operation today

4. Find a mentor. Seek industry leaders in your community and through connection on Linkedin. Organizations like Bunker Labs, Warrior Rising or Elite Meet can connect you with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors in a variety of disciplines.

To learn more about the funding options and programs available for veterans, service members, National Guard or Reserve component members, and spouses, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.