There are an estimated 2.5 million veteran owned businesses in America employing more than 440,000 people. Every year an estimated 200,000 US military veterans return to civilian life with about 10% of those individuals seeking to start their own business, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Bank of America is looking to help these aspiring entrepreneurs with its newly launched $20 million Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program, aimed at connecting “prospective veteran business owners with affordable capital to help start and grow their businesses.”
According to an Institute for Veterans and Military Families study, “more than 75 percent of veterans reported encountering challenges as they started and looked to grow their business.” Despite generating $1.1 trillion or 10% of US business, veterans find it tough to find bank loans, accounting for around 8% of business owner loans.
Under Bank of America’s lending program, veterans will be connected with “community development financial institutions in local communities across the country to identify and support veteran-owned businesses.” Before receiving a loan, veteran borrowers can also “participate in a two-month training program – led by Syracuse University, Oklahoma State University and the non-profit VetToCEO – to help them stay on track in those crucial early years of starting a business.”