According to a report by the Small Business Administration (SBA), veterans typically find it more difficult to access business capital than the average population. The observation sounds pretty weird, especially when you consider the fact that veterans manage no less than 9% of all businesses in the US.
The reason for this phenomenon lies primarily in the fact that the age of the average veteran in the country is 58. While that may sound inconsequential to the topic, investors aren’t very keen on investing in business owners in that age bracket, even when they’ve demonstrated enviable business acumen.
Thankfully, veterans don’t have to suffer too much marginalization when it comes to getting business grants, thanks to the availability of dedicated grants for them. In this article, you’ll learn about the best veterans business grants available in 2023 and how to qualify for them.
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Best Veterans Business Grants for 2023
To increase your chances of getting veterans business grants, you should consider reading through all the recommendations in this article before choosing where to send your applications. While most of the foundations here are targeting veterans, they likely also have their eyes on a very specific kind of business.
In short, putting more effort into applications for veterans business grants seeking to invest in your kind of business is a no-brainer, but you ideally want to pitch to as many foundations as possible for the best chance of getting a grant.
With that said, here are the best veterans business grants that may help you kick-start your business in 2023.
1. Warrior Rising
Warrior Rising has one mission: helping veterans become entrepreneurs, or as they call it, vetrepreneurs. Like most other veterans business grants, it hosts a sort of competition where vets apply, make business pitches, and get funding if their pitch is good enough to impress the judges.
The $20k grant you get from winning Warrior Rising’s competition isn’t the most valuable price you’ll win. In addition to that, the foundation offers a comprehensive business development program that offers mentoring, networking and coaching to veterans and their relatives.
Over the years, Warrior Rising has grown to become one of the most renowned veterans business grants in the United States, making it an excellent option for you. Here are the steps required to sign up for the program to stand a chance of pitching your business and winning a grant.
How to Apply for Warrior Rising
The basic requirement for applying to Warrior Rising’s grant is being a veteran or an immediate family member. If you don’t fulfill the fundamental requirement, you shouldn’t even waste any time applying, as the application process is a bit demanding.
With that said, here are the steps required to apply for Warrior Rising’s veterans business grants.
- Head over to the Warrior Rising application page and read the Application Requirements. To avoid ignored applications or unnecessary waste of time, you should consider skimming through them.
- After reading the requirements, click on the Veteran Application section and complete the form as required.
- Click on the Submit button and wait for an email from Warrior Rising.
After submitting the form, you’ll get an email detailing the subsequent steps required to continue your application process. You may also have to complete a short phone interview before getting the rest of the documents you may need to fill out.
Warrior Rising accepts applications from all kinds of businesses, regardless of size. As long as it’s owned by a veteran or one of their immediate relatives, it’s the perfect fit for the foundation’s benefits.
Read more on: Business grants for startup businesses
2. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB)
Veterans have sacrificed a lot for our freedom and independence, which is why we owe a lot to them. However, can you imagine a set of people that have sacrificed more than veterans? Well, it’s veterans with a service-connected disability; they deserve exclusive veterans business grants.
To appreciate service-disabled veterans, the US Department of Defense (DoD) started the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, and it has since grown to become one of the best veterans business grants for 2023.
Before applying for the program, however, it’s crucial to note that it’s only for veterans with a service-connected disability, and the DoD clarifies what that means on its website. In summary, only disabilities or deaths incurred or aggravated as a result of military duty counts as service-connected.
How to Apply for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB)
Unlike some other veterans business grants in this list, this program is only applicable to small businesses wholly or partially owned by a veteran. To be specific, a veteran must own at least 51% of the business with full control over management and decision-making to qualify.
Also, you should consider checking out the SBA standards for small businesses, as your business won’t be considered for the award if you don’t qualify according to those standards. You can access and download the requirements from the table of size standards here.
If you and your business meet all the requirements, you can then head over to verify your business with the Vets First Verification Program, which then opens you up to opportunities available to your small business from the SBA.
3. Second Service Foundation Military Entrepreneur Challenge
The Second Service Foundation is a rebrand of the StreetShare Foundation, and its Military Entrepreneur Challenge was formerly the Veteran Small Business Award. Apart from the names, there’s no other big change about the grant; you compete with other business owners for the prizes. Over the years, it has remained one of the best veterans business grants.
The Second Service Foundation offers money and coaching to entrepreneurs, but the highlight of the program is the monetary aspect, which is only awarded to the three top entrepreneurs.
The first position earns a whopping $15,000 grant, while the second and third positions go home with $6,000 and $4,000 respectively.
Unlike most other veterans business grants in this list, the award is not exclusive to servicemen alone; partners and children of veterans who died serving the country also qualify for the grant, making it one of the most considerate veterans business grants out there.
How to Apply for the Second Service Foundation Military Entrepreneur Challenge
The eligibility requirements for the award aren’t as stringent as with some of the other veterans business grants on this list. As long as you served in the army or have a relative who was a serviceman, you should be able to apply.
To apply with an existing business, the qualified individual must own at least 51% of the business without enough financial resources to grow the business. Once you meet all the requirements, you can head over to the Second Service Foundation website to sign up for the newsletter.
Once you’re in, they’ll send you an email whenever they start accepting applications for the next edition of the award with a link to register. After registering with your full details, you can proceed to create a video to pitch your business and how it socially impacts the military community. Emphasizing the social impact of your business makes it more likely for you to get selected for the award.
Finally, you’ll need to attend the speed coaching event, where they select the finalists and distribute the awards to deserving recipients.
4. Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant
The Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant is targeted at female veteran business owners or those looking to start a new business. It’s only available to Texans, awarded by the Texas Woman’s University, and is only one of the institution’s numerous grants for females from the state.
Texas Woman’s University awards $5,000 to winners of the grant every year, and they’re free to use the money for purposes related to business development, including marketing, equipment purchases, and property improvements.
To qualify for the grant, you must not be a staff at the Texas Woman’s University. Also, members of the immediate family of employees or workers at the university are also not eligible to apply, even if they fulfill all the other requirements for the veterans business grants.
How to Apply for the Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant
Before applying for the Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant, you must ensure you fulfill all the requirements for qualification. You must also provide proof that the business is at least 51% owned by a female war veteran, and you may also be required to prove her veteran status.
Once you have the requirements, you’ll have to wait until the next edition of the program starts to submit an application. The Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant starts in the spring and is unavailable to previous awardees of the grant. No doubt, it’s one of the best veterans business grants of 2023.
Grants.gov is not a grant; rather, it’s a directory of veteran business grants from the federal government that can benefit your business. You can discover grants, search for grants, confirm the existence or status of known grants, and apply for grants from the federal government.
In addition to showing you the different grants available, the website also educates you on how to apply for grants and track your application. If you’re hoping to get veteran business grants for your business in 2023, learning how to use the Grants.gov website is a no-brainer.
While the platform is primarily a website, it has apps on both Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, making it easily accessible from mobile phones. You can also follow the website’s official social media handles to keep up with new grants without having to return to the website each time.
Veterans are heroes, and that’s why they deserve our support in everything they do after leaving active military service. As a means of supporting them, these five veterans business grants are changing the narrative and empowering budding veteran entrepreneurs.