There are nearly 22 million veterans in the U.S., and they own 9% of all U.S. businesses, according to Census.gov. Further, 5.8 million people are employed by roughly 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses, which generate an estimated $1.2 trillion in sales. Statistics show that veterans are more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans

Unfortunately, former service men and women often face challenges in raising capital when the return home from duty. Although they many times are given positions of responsibility at a young age, lenders look long and hard at financial information. Frequently, veterans enter the service as teenagers or in their early 20s and have not had much time to build a solid credit history in the private sector.

ortunately, the SBA has made helping veterans a priority. The agency's Office of Veterans Business Development offers a Boots-to-Business training program for transitioning military personnel. Additionally, the SBA's Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides funds to eligible small businesses to meet operating expenses that can't be met due to an essential employee being called to active duty. These loans are intended to provide the amount of working capital needed by a small business to pay its necessary obligations until operations return to normal after the essential employee is released from active military duty.

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