Veteran-owned businesses are eligible for grants from government, nonprofit and corporate initiatives that give back to our troops for their service and support their entrepreneurship.

Veteran Business Grants and Support Programs

The 21.8 million veterans in the United States have made remarkable sacrifices in their service and deserve all the appreciation they receive and more. Their time in the military and the skills they’ve developed give them a distinct perspective, which they can use to start amazing businesses.

Veteran small-business owners (and those looking to start a business) are an important part of the U.S. economy. Veterans own 7.2% of the nation’s 5.5 million businesses with employees, according to latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Like any new small business, veterans need assistance to get their businesses off the ground. Multiple institutions offer small-business grants, loans and other financing options and resources specific for veterans.

Generally, to qualify for veteran business grants or financing, you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Honorably Discharged Veterans (some grants may specify a particular conflict or time period, e.g. post-9/11 era)
  • Service-Disabled Veterans
  • Active Duty Military service member participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Reservists and National Guard Members; or
  • Current spouse of any Veteran, Active Duty service member, or any Reservist or National Guard member; or widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability.

If you fall into one or more of the above categories, there are many possible options for you to finance your business or access resources specific to current and former service members.

The Veterans Business Outreach Center Program — VBOCs provide training for vets to help with understanding business plans, financials, marketing, sales, human resource management, and more. They also offer webinar and professional counseling at 15 locations across the country.

Veterans Business Services — offers help with franchising, marketing, and with connecting to financial services.

SCORE, a nonprofit association of volunteer business counselors who offer free business workshops and in-person appointments.

Boots to Business — a free, two-step education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to service members who want to become entrepreneurs. The program includes a two-day introduction to entrepreneurship course, as well as an eight-week foundations of entrepreneurship online course that provides tips and techniques for starting a business, including how to write a business plan.

programming. Patriot Boot Camp — a three-day boot camp offered to active duty service members, veterans and their spouses. It provides access to resources for starting a business, including mentors and educational training and

own at least 51% of the business and have a service-. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small-Business Program — an SBA program that helps qualifying entrepreneurs obtain sole-source government contracts of up to $5 million. Participants must connected disability

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal — the VEP connects entrepreneurial vets to federal, state and local financing programs, resources and opportunities.

Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP) — an accelerator program with three in-service training programs, which assist companies in developing strategies to expand and operate within the federal marketplace, becoming procurement-ready, or expanding federal and commercial contracting opportunities to overseas.

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) — an SBA-funded program provided by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, includes online training, a conference, and mentorship to female veterans.

VetsInTech — a private sector training program that connects current and returning veterans with reintegration services and also with the tech ecosystem, offering educational opportunities, connections with tech jobs, and workshops and bootcamps to help veteran startup founders boost their businesses.

Remember: Just because you don’t see a specific grant or program listed here, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Finding grants can take some time, but if it’s a good financing option for you and your startup, it’s worth searching around for.