In 2023, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provided over $1.1 billion in support to more than 2,800 veteran-owned small businesses, marking a continued trend of growth for entrepreneurs in the military community. This represents a 40% increase in funding and 33% increase in total loan numbers since 2020, following a decline from 2017 to 2020.
SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman attributed this growth to the entrepreneurial spirit of American heroes and the SBA’s commitment to simplifying access, reducing red tape, and expanding outreach to meet entrepreneurs’ needs. She estimates that there are around 1.9 million veteran-owned small businesses that employ about 5.5 million Americans, a small but significant portion of the country’s workforce.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order in June directing the SBA to develop more tools to assist would-be veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses wanting to start their own businesses. The agency has already announced plans to add six new Veteran Business Outreach Centers to their existing network of 22 sites. As part of their outreach efforts around Veterans Day, Guzman attended the opening ceremony of one new center in Long Beach, California earlier this month, with another set to open in Nevada by the end of the month.
In addition to these initiatives, the SBA recently launched a new SBA Veteran Business Certification program which connects service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with more federal contracting opportunities and expanded existing entrepreneurship training programs with a focus on women veterans and disabled veterans. More information on support services for veteran businesses is available on the SBA website.