In honor of Veterans Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced that it is offering an initiative to veteran entrepreneurs and business owners which make small business loans more accessible.
Beginning Jan. 1 and for the rest of the fiscal year, SBA will be setting the borrower upfront freeze to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express Loan Program, which supports loans of up to $350,000.
In addition to the Express Loan Program, SBA has also announced that fees on loans of $150,000 and under are set to zero.
When asked, one local veteran and business owner spoke in favor of the move.
"Any benefits that the Small Business Administration can offer to our veterans, particularly those coming home from the Middle East, would be a boom to the economy," said Bill Carmody, owner of First Generation in Allentown and U.S. Army veteran. "These veterans have learned, through their discipline and motivation, the sacrifices needed to start a business."
Other services SBA offers to veterans include business counseling and training and capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. The administration partners with organizations that provide education, mentoring and training to make sure that veterans have the tools they need to start or grow their business.
According to the administration, in the fiscal year 2013, they supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses.
"Giving veterans access to these funds gives so much back to those that ask for so little," Carmody said.