In the past, the federal Patriot Express program and the Veterans Advantage program offered small business loans for veterans. These programs both expired several years ago and were not replaced with alternatives. However, there are still several good small business financing options available to veterans today.
Veterans are uniquely suited to running and operating a small business. The military gives you the training and discipline you need to be able to accurately assess a situation and exploit it for profit. That’s one of the reasons why providing small business loans to veterans is particularly important in America, as small businesses drive the economy and vets make excellent small business operators. Therefore, providing more small business loans to veterans is a great way to help fuel the local and national economy.
While the government programs to facilitate these loans may no longer exist, that doesn’t mean that others haven’t recognized the opportunity that exists in lending to military veteran small business owners. We’ve put together a list of some of the best options if you’re a veteran and trying to find a small business loan. Read on for the full list!
Military Reservists Economic Injury Loans
To qualify for this loan, a business must already exist. For veterans or other qualified business owners who employ active-duty personnel, this loan is a viable way to compensate for the loss of a military member who is called up for duty. Active reserve members play a vital role in running and operating many small businesses. They also make up a large number of a small business’s most important staff. After all, the military provides a number of unique skills and talents, and it can be hard to find an individual to replace someone with those talents should they be called away for service.
Loans may be as high as $2 million, and borrowers must be able to prove that they cannot cover the recovery expenses if the individual leaves suddenly. Interest rates are typically low. Most people rate this loan highly for its reasonable fees and attractive interest rates. However, some people were unhappy about the stiff collateral requirements for any loans exceeding $50,000.
Another thing that we liked about this loan is that it helps take away some of the fears that businesses might have when it comes to hiring veterans. The assurance of a relatively cheap loan to help cover the loss of a valuable employee or operator are a great way to help more active reserve veterans get employment when they enter civil life. This employment is one of the biggest keys when it comes to getting back to your career once your service has ended, as vets will have the needed resume and experience to pick up where they left off, rather than having to start over again.
For veteran-owned businesses that have been in operation for over a year, this may be an ideal option. The interest rates are competitive, and most users said that the fees were reasonable. As a result, many veteran owned small businesses have been able to get the funds they need to start or grow their business and aid the local community with more jobs and services. However, it may not be the right loan for veterans who need more than $100,000. This is due to restrictions on the size of the loan that Street Shares is willing to offer a particular business.
The minimum amount is $5,000. People who used this small business loan said that the application process was quick and electronic, and funds were deposited within a week of approval. That’s a good sign, as most businesses apply for loans when they need cash or anticipate they will need cash. The fast disbursement means that you can execute plans for expansion or for shoring up your present operations in a timely and efficient manner, putting you ahead of the curve instead of wondering where you’re going to cut the budget so that you can catch up.
Hivers And Strivers
Veterans who graduated from a military academy and want to start a business may qualify for this special investment option. The group of angel investors may invest between $250,000 and $1 million in the early stages of a startup. This makes it especially appealing for vets who are looking to start their first business or start a new business. Moreover, these early stages of a business’s life are the times that it is most difficult to get the necessary capital. That makes the funding provided by Hivers and Strivers even more appealing, as many small business loans, whether targeted at vets or not, require a business to be operating for a number of years before they are willing to offer loans and funding.
Some applicants complained about rigid approval criteria. However, qualified borrowers said that this option was much better than a traditional loan. Veterans must have a solid business plan in place to be approved. While the strict requirements for funding may be off-putting to some, these requirements are what allows Hivers and Strivers to offer loans at extremely competitive interest rates. Moreover, because of the business plan requirements, applying for startup funding from Hivers and Strivers can be a good way to test the viability of your business plan, regardless of if you accept a loan or not.
This lender offers larger loans to veteran-owned businesses.The maximum amount is $4 million. Down payments are 10 percent or more, and interest is prime plus 2.75 percent. Borrowers who reviewed the loan liked that there were no hidden fees. Also, they were happy about the flexible terms that assign shorter terms to smaller loans and longer terms up to 25 years for larger loans. Some borrowers did not receive as much money as they hoped to get. The lender bases the loan amount on the financed assets and the calculated amount of cash flow.
One of the best things about Connect2Capital is the maximum loan amount. Many of the veteran-focused small business lenders have smaller maximums, which means they aren’t viable options if your business is capital intensive or you are planning a major expansion and need a larger loan than other lenders are willing to provide. Moreover, companies that operate in a more expensive marketplace, like New York or LA, for example, may find that the loan maximums that other veteran-focused lenders offer aren’t sufficient to meet their capital requirements. After all, there’s no utility in applying for a receiving a loan that is going to be less than the amount you need to start your business. That’s setting your business up for a tough start because you will find yourself severely underfunded from the beginning, making it hard to gain traction or momentum. Therefore, the higher funding maximum that Connect2Capital offers can make them the best option for many small business operators.
If veterans have a credit score of 600 or higher, they may qualify for a loan from this company. Revenue must be between $50,000 and $5 million. Also, borrowers must have been in business for more than 24 months. Most borrowers rated this loan highly for the easy application process and low interest rates. Another benefit cited was the fast financing after approval. Borrowers said that funds were deposited within a week. However, borrowers who had previous bankruptcies or foreclosures were disappointed to find that they did not qualify if the negative items took place within the past few years.
SmartBiz is a good option for a few different types of businesses. The first type of business that can benefit from a small business loan from SmartBiz are those that need funding quickly. The speed of disbursement that SmartBiz offers makes them an excellent choice if you’re facing an unexpected cash crunch.
SmartBiz is also a good choice for businesses looking to borrow between $50k and $350k. While the minimum loan amount for SmartBiz is much less than $50k, the rate that SmartBiz offers on loans between $50k and $350k is prime + 2.75%. This is a fairly competitive interest rate, making SmartBiz a good place for larger, cheaper loans. The rate for loans between $30k and $49k is prime + 3.75%, which is still a decent rate, but an extra percentage point can make a huge difference in how much value a loan provides when compared to the cost of the loan.
How To Choose The Right Lender
The first consideration is the lender’s loan maximum. Some lenders may not offer enough, and some lenders focusing on larger loans may have minimums that exceed a veteran’s needs. For example, a veteran who needs $25,000 for equipment should not apply for a loan with a minimum of $50,000. Also, pay attention to interest rates and if they are added to prime rates. Be sure that a rate is fixed, and understand all fees before signing any papers. Some loans require collateral, and some require a down payment. Consider these criteria and compare them to budget needs before choosing a lender. Understanding the different loan requirements can help you determine what loan makes the most financial sense for your business. This is especially true when it comes to fees like origination fees and other associated closing costs that you may not think about until you are about to sign the papers. Finally, read reviews of at least five prospective lenders before choosing one. Also, include traditional loans in the search since some may actually have better terms than certain veteran-focused loans.
When applying for small business loans, submit applications at the time of need. Waiting several months after being approved results in another credit check, and multiple credit inquiries temporarily lower a score. Plan on applying with a few lenders and accepting an offer immediately. As long as you do proper research, you’ll find that you can get a loan to help get your business started, help keep it running, or to help it grow in no time. You’ve worked hard in service of your country, and there’s no reason that you should be denied access to the capital you need to work hard for yourself and your local community. Small business loans can be the difference between your business growing or even surviving, so make sure you take full advantage of any funding you can get to expand your business.