Resources to Help Veterans Turn Entrepreneurs

Resources to Help Veterans Turn Entrepreneurs Main Photo

11 Nov 2022


Minnesota Announces $97 Million in Small Business Financial Support

Military veterans transitioning to civilian life should consider entrepreneurship to secure their futures. Their training and experiences foster critical skills in leadership, teamwork, and technology. Veterans comprise around 7 percent of the adult population in the U.S., translating to 18 million Americans. At the same time, veterans own about 6 percent of U.S. businesses and employ approximately 4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Veterans Day and Entrepreneurship Month overlap in November, making it the perfect time to explore the resources available to veterans to help them achieve and expand as business owners.

Getting Started

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a solid place to start. For those looking for first steps, the SBA has “10 steps to start your business.” Steps for planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities are outlined. The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development has an entire resource directory, including specific resources for women and service-disabled veterans and Reserve and National Guard members.

Boots to Business is the entrepreneurial education and training program for transitioning service members and their spouses offered by SBA as part of the Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers the Veterans Entrepreneur Portal to make it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source — and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant best practices and information.

Other assistance includes: 

Veteran Small Business Certification Program

The SBA also has veteran-specific assistance programs that help veteran-owned small businesses access federal contract awards and federally-owned surplus personal property no longer in use. Resources include contracting opportunities for veterans, Veteran-owned small business verification, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, and surplus personal property for Veteran-owned small business programs.

Just this month, the SBA announced consequential updates to the planned launch of its new Veteran Small Business Certification Program. Through this program, important classifications are designated that enable Veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to qualify for sole-source and set-aside federal contracting awards. The latest information on the Veteran Small Business Certification program can be found here or by emailing

Financing a Veteran-Owned Small Business

While federal and state government agencies do not provide grants to veterans for starting a business, the SBA offers a program to help veterans obtain low-cost startup financing through the SBA Veterans Advantage Loan. Other SBA funding help can be found here.

Minnesota Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs offers several resources to help veterans become entrepreneurs. The Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center can help in becoming a certified Veteran-owned business.

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development (DEED) outlines the steps for starting a business in the state with its new online Small Business Hub. The Hub provides details on DEED's State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) programs, as well as resources and expertise for small business owners looking to launch in Minnesota. Access DEED’s Startup and Small Business Resources for more information about funding and training. Of note, the Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program provides loan capital for businesses owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans, and/or persons with disabilities.

New: Millions for Minnesota Small Businesses

Recently, the federal government approved Minnesota for $97.5 million in small business funding through the SSBCI. Before the end of 2022, DEED will launch six Treasury-approved programs under the new initiative to benefit small businesses. In most cases, businesses will access funding through approved lenders or other external financial institutions. The first program to launch is the Growth Loan Fund, which provides direct loans to innovative seed- and early-stage technology businesses. Loans range from $100,000 to $400,000, and businesses can apply directly with DEED.

Benton County

In Benton County, Benton Economic Partnership, BEP works tirelessly to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. Reach out to Amanda Othoudt, BEP Executive Director, at (320) 968-6197 or for help with start-up, market data, available properties, workforce development, marketing, and more! Follow BEP on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to keep up-to-date on initiatives and resources.