A Leading Educator and Connector of Capital for Veteran Entrepreneurship
Veteran Business Project’s leadership realized early on that the persistent challenge and impediment to veterans owning their own business essentially boiled down to one thing…lack of access to capital. This is particularly the case for the junior enlisted personnel…those who traditionally do the heavy lifting in combat.
While playing a major role in the creation of the federal-based Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act of 2015 (now 2017), Veteran Business Project (VBP) also recognized the need for a grassroots initiative at the state level with an eye towards championing a state legislative template all across America…state by state. State efforts are “closer to home” in terms of the veterans and legislators involved. It makes for a direct and meaningful impact on the local economy…jobs, personal income, state tax revenues and the like. The focus is to have states becoming loan guarantors behind, or financial contributors to, national and community banks who would do the actual lending. We are advocating for these banks to acknowledge the quality and value of our military veterans as individuals. Our veterans bring maturity, resilience, discipline, dedication, team-play, loyalty, hard-work ethic and more to the table. For this, we believe banks should, in turn, make concessions by way of lowering both credit score and collateral requirements. We know that, from our country’s WW II experience, veterans make for solid small business owner/operators. All they need is a chance…and some financial fuel in their tanks.
In 2014, VBP began an effort to bring life to the state lending effort via the Illinois Military Veteran Entrepreneurship Initiative. Following is a June 2016 announcement from the office of Illinois State Senator, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant reflecting the unanimous passage of Illinois Senate Bill 324, granting veterans access to loans guaranteed by the state. VBP was instrumental in promoting the unanimous passage of this important, ground-breaking legislation. Importantly, we also found a tireless, effective advocate in the person of Senator Bertino-Tarrant who was instrumental in seeing the legislative process through to completion.
VBP has also worked cooperatively with Missouri State Representative Dean Dohrman on the unanimously successful passage of Missouri pro-veteran small business lending legislation. We are now moving forward with numerous states across America in exactly the same successful manner as we have in Illinois and Missouri. We will present these various state legislators with the need for a state loan guarantee or financial contribution program, as well as our recommendations on program implementation. On behalf of our veterans, we are advancing our program all across America…to every single state in the union.