6 Small Business Grants For Veterans (And Other Funding Resources) (2023)

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Veterans make up around 7% of the adult population (18 million Americans) in the U.S. At the same time, veterans own around 6% of U.S. businesses and employ around 4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you’re a veteran who owns or wants to start a small business, there are numerous resources available to help you. In particular, small business grants designed for veterans could be a great financial tool to promote the growth and development of your company.

There tends to be a lot of competition where grants are concerned. But due to the more limited pool of applicants, you might have a better chance of qualifying for small business grants for veterans than for some other types of business funding options.

Below you’ll find details about six small business grants for veterans, along with other business funding options to consider. These resources could help you get your startup off the ground or grow the existing business you’re ready to take to the next level.

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1. Hivers and Strivers

Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group that invests in veteran-owned and -led businesses. The organization offers early-round investment funds through its Venture Capital for Veterans program. Funding opportunities range from $250,000 to $1 million.

How to Apply

You can apply for funding for your business idea through the platform Gust. The program focuses on veteran-led, early-stage companies with significant growth potential. However, businesses that are reliant on government contracts are not eligible for funding.

2. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program

Veterans who were disabled while serving in the military may be eligible for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program. The program aims to help disabled veteran business owners gain access to at least 3% of available federal contract dollars every year. In fact, certain federal contract funds are only available to members of the SDVOSB program.

How to Apply

Your business will need to self-certify before it can qualify for the SDVOSB program. To complete this process, you can visit SAM.gov and update your business profile under the socio-economic status section. For VA contracts, you will need to contact the Center for Verification and Evaluation for certification.

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In addition to certifying your business, you’ll also need to meet other eligibility requirements to qualify for the SDVOSB program. For example, you must own a small business (per the SBA’s size standards), have at least one service-disabled veteran managing daily operations and long-term decisions, and the business must be majority-owned (at least 51%) by a service-disabled veteran.

3. Street Shares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award

Veteran business owners may be interested in applying for a grant through the nonprofit Street Shares Foundation. The organization’s grant program, the Veteran Small Business Award, provides three different grants through its Military Entrepreneur Challenge:

  • First place: $15,000
  • Second place: $6,000
  • Third place: $4,000

On top of the cash awards, the first-place recipient gets to take advantage of $25,000 worth of pro-bono legal service. Each finalist also receives a $1,000 scholarship to the Synergy Learning Institute. First, second and third place winners receive bigger scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.

How to Apply

Applications for the next round of grants are currently not open. But you can sign up for the foundation’s newsletter to receive notifications when the application process reopens.

4. Warrior Rising Small Business Grants

Whether you’re a veteran who’s starting a new business or looking for funding to grow an existing company, you may want to research Warrior Rising Small Business Grants. The nonprofit program, founded in Utah in 2015, provides both business grants and mentorship to eligible veteran entrepreneurs.

How to Apply

Businesses can apply online to become a “vetpreneur” in the Warrior Rising program. If the organization accepts your application, you’ll receive an onboarding email. From there you can schedule a phone call that will walk you through what to expect during the four-step business development program, including business training through Warrior Academy, one-on-one mentoring, funding opportunities and a place in the Warrior Community.

5. Grants.gov

Grants.gov can be a solid resource for many different types of small business owners, including veterans. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) governs the database that features more than 1,000 grant programs from a variety of federal agencies. Collectively, those agencies award more than $500 billion in grant funding each year.

How to Apply

You can register for a Workspace account via Grants.gov. Workplace aims to simplify the grant application process. After a one-time registration, you can apply for multiple grant opportunities with the same profile. The system will even prepopulate your information so you don’t have to fill out the same details repeatedly with each grant application.

6. GrantWatch

GrantWatch is an organization that helps veterans find grant opportunities for business and personal purposes (including homebuying and home improvement). The extensive directory houses details about more than 28,000 funding opportunities from a variety of sources throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.S. Territories.

How to Apply

GrantWatch requires an active membership to access its directory. The cost for the service varies from $18 per week to $199 per year depending on the membership you choose. Once you find a grant that interests you, you’ll have to follow the issuing organization’s instructions to apply for the funding.

Tips for Applying for Veteran Business Grants

1. Make Sure You’re Eligible

Grant applications can be tedious and time-consuming. So, it’s important to avoid wasting your limited time applying for cash awards that you’re not eligible to receive.

Before you fill out any grant applications for veterans, review all of the eligibility requirements. Even among grants for veterans, some may be limited to disabled vets, those with honorable discharges, veterans opening new startups and more.

2. Follow Instructions

As a grant applicant, you want your submission to be thorough and complete. It’s critical to fill out the full application and submit any accompanying documentation that is requested. Pay attention to deadlines as well—both for the initial submission and beyond—to make sure you don’t miss out on valuable funding opportunities due to an oversight on your end.

3. Consider Who Will Review the Application

When you’re applying for any type of grant, it’s important to consider who will be reviewing your application and what they want to see. A reviewer will not have any existing information about your business or business idea. So, be sure to provide clear details about your company, including how you could use the grant award to propel your business forward.

4. Proofread

Before you submit your grant application and any required documents, take time to proofread it (perhaps multiple times). Grammatical mistakes or missing information could be a turn-off to some reviewers. You also want to do everything in your power to make your business stand out from other applicants.

Other Funding Resources for Veterans

Grants can be an attractive way to obtain funding for your business since you don’t have to pay the money back. However, there are other business funding options for veterans that you may want to consider as well, especially since securing grant awards can be a lengthy and highly competitive process.

Below are five business funding resources for veterans that might be a good fit for you.

  • Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC): The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) established the VBOC program to support veteran entrepreneurs in several ways. Business training services, mentorship, assistance transitioning from active duty service and counseling are some of the valuable resources available through this program.
  • Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (VWISE): Another resource that’s available through the SBA is the VWISE program. Female veterans can apply for this program to receive business training from successful entrepreneurs and educators throughout the country.
  • Boots to Business (B2B): The SBA also offers the B2B business education and training program as part of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) through the Department of Defense. The program is available to service members who are transitioning from active duty, along with their spouses.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment: Service members and veterans who have service-related disabilities can participate in the Veteran Readiness and Employment program. The service provides resources that can help participants start a business, find a new job, return to a former job and more.
  • Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP): The VEP program is available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization. The goal of VEP is to help eligible veterans start a new business venture or to increase profits in existing businesses. It’s open to eligible veterans with service-related disabilities and veterans who distinguished themselves during their military careers.

FAQs

How do I get local grants for my small business? ›

You can find small-business grants at government agencies, state organizations and private corporations. A few good places to start your search include the government database Grants.gov, your local Small Business Development Center and nonprofits such as the Local Initiatives Support Corp.

How do I start a veteran owned business in NC? ›

North Carolina Federal Surplus is now accepting applications for the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, Veteran small business owners are encouraged to visit https://www.vetbiz.va.gov to register their business.

How many veteran owned businesses are there in the US? ›

More than 2.4 million U.S. businesses are owned by veterans, about nine percent of all American firms. They employ 5.8 million employees and dole out $210 billion in annual payroll.

Is PPP coming back 2022? ›

Unfortunately, PPP loans in 2022 aren't happening –– eligibility for the program ended in May 2021 and there are no signs of it coming back. There are other options for securing small business funding besides PPP loans. Read on to learn about your options for how to get the funding you need.

How do I get funding for a business with no money? ›

6. Source funding to grow
  1. Friends and family loans. Do you have a personal support network that can back your new business idea? ...
  2. Small business loans. Get larger amounts of money from a lender, like Shopify Capital, to go toward payroll, inventory funding, or marketing. ...
  3. Capital investors. ...
  4. Small business grants.
21 Mar 2022

How can a veteran get money to start a business? ›

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a special loan program for Veterans called “Patriot Express.” We recommend that owners work with the Small Business Development Center to ensure they have the documents necessary to apply for the program. Details are available at http://www.sba.gov/patriotexpress.

How much does the VA give for a business loan? ›

All active and retired military members and families qualify to apply for business loans for veterans. VA Mortgage Loans up to $417,000 with no down payment. Business loan amounts for veterans up to $350,0000 and 1-5 year terms. Apply for a personal loan for any purpose, up to $40,000 with fixed rates.

Can a 100% VA disability own a business? ›

If you receive 100% disability based on your impairment rating, you are not bound by any income limits. You can own a business and earn as much money as you are able.

Who is the largest employer of veterans in the United States? ›

Veterans. The Postal Service employs nearly 68,000 military veterans, making it one of the largest employers of veterans in the country. The organization has also issued more than 140 stamps honoring the nation's military history, including the Service Cross Medals stamps.

Is there an advantage to being a veteran owned business? ›

A veteran-owned business gives you easier access to specialty SBA loans and grants, government contracts, and more. You'll also find: Franchising benefits available for veterans who open a franchise or decide to turn their business into a franchise.

Which state produces the most veterans? ›

In 2021, about 1.4 million veterans were living in Texas - the most out of any state. Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia rounded out the top five states with the highest veteran population in that year.

Is it too late to apply for PPP? ›

The PPP ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.

Is there anymore PPP money left? ›

Notice: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.

Will there be a 3rd PPP loan? ›

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Round 3 applies to businesses with 500 or fewer employees, or if you're getting a second draw loan, 300 or fewer.

Can I get a business loan with a 500 credit score? ›

When you have bad credit, you can still get a small business loan. This is because your credit score doesn't matter as much as the overall financial health of your business. Many lenders require a minimum credit score of 500, at least six months in business, and more than $30,000 in annual revenue.

How do I get government startup funding? ›

Here's the lowdown on these schemes to help startups in India find the funding they need to get growing:
  1. ATAL Innovation Mission (AIM) ...
  2. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) ...
  3. Startup India Seed Fund (SISF) ...
  4. Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) ...
  5. Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGT-MSE)
24 May 2022

What is the easiest business to start with no money? ›

26 Businesses You Can Start for Free
  1. Blogging. While not a new concept, monetized blogging is always a popular option for an essentially no-cost business. ...
  2. In-home child care. ...
  3. In-home dog care. ...
  4. Pet services. ...
  5. Dog training. ...
  6. Freelance writing. ...
  7. Freelance editing. ...
  8. Resume building.

What is a Patriot Express loan? ›

What Is the Patriot Express Loan Program? Patriot Express loans were designed to help veterans and active-duty military personnel gain faster access to capital for their businesses, providing small business loans in amounts up to $500,000.

What is VetFran program? ›

The VetFran program is a voluntary effort of International Franchise Association (IFA) member companies to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans.

What do you need to get a business loan from the VA? ›

For the most part, however, to be eligible for a VA business loan, businesses must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one of the following: An honorably discharged veteran. A service-disabled veteran. An active-duty military member participating in the military Transition Assistance Program.

Do you need good credit for a VA business loan? ›

To get a veteran SBA loan, you're going to need a FICO score of 685 or higher. That's not to say that if you have a lower FICO score, you still can't get one. You just need access to the resources you need to boost your credit to match this requirement.

Does the VA ever lend money? ›

As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy. VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies.

What is the maximum amount you can get for a VA loan? ›

If you have full entitlement, you don't have a home loan limit. Eligible Veterans, service members, and survivors with full entitlement no longer have limits on loans over $144,000.

Is there a federal tax credit for disabled veterans? ›

Disabled veterans may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on: an increase in the veteran's percentage of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs (which may include a retroactive determination) or.

Are Disabled veterans exempt from sales tax? ›

Sales Tax Exemption for Vehicle Purchase/Adaptation

A disabled veteran who receives a VA grant for the purchase and special adapting of a vehicle is exempt from paying the state sales tax on the vehicle (only on the original grant).

Why is 100 VA disability so hard? ›

As you might expect, it is difficult to obtain a 100% VA disability rating with just one service-connected disability. Most veterans who receive a 100% rating have two or more disabling conditions. Often, these conditions have a secondary service connection.

What is the highest paying job for veterans? ›

Top Paying Jobs For Veterans With A Degree
  • Civil/Electrical Engineering.
  • Software Developer.
  • Accountant.
  • IT Project Manager.
  • Information Security Analyst.
  • Human Resources/Personnel Management.
  • Social Services/Mental Health.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain.
10 Mar 2022

Which states treat veterans the best? ›

Table of Contents
  • #1 Overall Best State for Veterans: Texas.
  • #2 Most Veteran Friendly States: Florida.
  • #3 Overall Veteran Friendly States: Alaska.
  • #4 Top State for Military Veterans: Nevada.
  • #5 Best State for Veterans to Live: Illinois.
  • Ranking the Top 5 Best States for Veterans Benefits (2023)
14 Sept 2022

What is the most common job for veterans? ›

Top Industries for Veterans
  • Government.
  • Security Clearance.
  • Law Enforcement.
  • Driver.
  • Maintenance.
  • Healthcare & Nursing.
  • Teaching & Education.
  • Transportation.

What are the disadvantages of VA? ›

What are some of the disadvantages of a VA loan?
  • You will be required to pay VA funding fees. ...
  • Consider the total cost of loan compared to total cost of house. ...
  • Manufactured homes may require a minimum down payment and may not be eligible for a 30-year term.
  • You cannot use a VA loan for rental properties.
30 Nov 2020

What does SOF veteran owned mean? ›

Veteran Owned Small Business Concern - FAR 2.101. A small business concern not less than 51 percent of which is owned by one or more veterans (as defined in 38 U.S.C.101 (2)) or, in the case of any publicly owned business, not less than 51 percent of the stock of which is owned by one or more veterans; and.

Why are veterans denied benefits? ›

Causes for ineligibility of benefits

The veteran was dishonorably discharged. The injury occurred while the veteran was avoiding duty, such as while deserting or absent without leave (AWOL) The injury occurred while the veteran/service member was in prison or detained due to court martial or civil court felony.

What city is best for veterans? ›

In its annual list of best and worst places for veterans to live, personal finance website WalletHub named Raleigh, N.C., the best city for veterans. Meanwhile, Navy Federal Credit Union's biennial Best Cities After Service list identified Charleston, S.C., as the top city where veterans should make their home.

What is the leading cause of death for veterans? ›

Compared with the general population, more of those deaths were attributed to accidents and homicides. Those veterans also died at much higher rates of suicide, cancer and cardiovascular disease when compared with civilians the same age, gender and ethnic and racial makeup.

What city in the U.S. has the most veterans? ›

Colorado Springs, Colo.

How do I find local government grants? ›

To search or apply for grants, use the free, official website, Grants.gov. Commercial sites may charge a fee for grant information or application forms. Grants.gov centralizes information from more than 1,000 government grant programs. It's designed to help states and organizations find and apply for grants.

How do I find my local grants? ›

Utilize the Grants.gov Website

Bookmark the grants.gov page and refer to it for federal opportunities. Government grants are posted to provide easy public access to information and deadlines. This site includes a list of grant funding opportunities that is searchable through region, category, and many other filters.

Do you have to pay back a grant? ›

In a broad sense, a grant is money given to a person, business, organisation or other which is intended for a specific purpose. In contrast with donations or loans, a grant does not have to be paid back.

How can I get funding for my business fast? ›

Prepare to request more funding
  1. Make your business case.
  2. Prepare financial statements.
  3. Connect with a local SBA resource center.
  4. Get loans, credit, or crowdfunding.
  5. Sell ownership in your company.
  6. Use Lender Match to find lenders who offer SBA-guaranteed loans.

How can I get free money from the government 2022? ›

10 ways to get free money from the government:
  1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  3. Emergency Rental Assistance.
  4. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance.
  5. The Lifeline Program.
  6. Child Care and Development Fund.
  7. Down Payment Assistance.
  8. Pell Grant.
25 May 2022

What is the most common grant? ›

Program/project grants

This is the most common type of grant. Program/project grants specify that funding may only be used to support the program or project referenced in your proposal.

Where is the best place to look for grants? ›

Grants.gov is a great free resource to find government funding opportunities. For grants that may be closer to home, check the websites for your local municipality, county, or state.

Is the government giving out free money? ›

Offers of free money from government grants are scams. Someone might offer you a grant to pay for education, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. But they're all scams. Here's how to avoid a government grant scam, and how to report it.

What help can I get from the government? ›

In September 2022, the government gave a cost of living payment to people who get benefits based on their income.
...
If you get benefits based on your income
  • Universal Credit.
  • Pension Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Income Support.

Do grants affect your tax return? ›

Generally, you report any portion of a scholarship, a fellowship grant, or other grant that you must include in gross income as follows: If filing Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, include the taxable portion in the total amount reported on the "Wages, salaries, tips" line of your tax return.

What happens if you have leftover grant money? ›

Typically, the school first applies your grant or loan money toward your tuition, fees, and (if you live on campus) room and board. Any money left over is paid to you directly for other education expenses.

What are the disadvantages of government grants? ›

Disadvantages
  • Usually, government entities are more risk-averse than private entities, and thus do not provide funds as a lump-sum. ...
  • Proposals for public funding are often challenging to write and tedious.
  • Reporting requirements for public funds can be extremely time-consuming and tedious.

Is PPP money still available? ›

The PPP ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. SBA also offers additional COVID-19 relief.

Where can I get funding to start my own business? ›

Government agencies to approach include:
  • Department of Trade and Industry.
  • Industrial Development Corporation.
  • National Empowerment Fund.
  • Small Enterprise Development Agency.
  • Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA)
  • Technology Innovation Agency.
  • National Youth Development Agency.
19 Oct 2021

What are the easiest loans to get approved for? ›

The easiest loans to get approved for would probably be payday loans, car title loans, pawnshop loans, and personal installment loans. These are all short-term cash solutions for bad credit borrowers in need. Many of these options are designed to help borrowers who need fast cash in times of need.

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