In the past five years many thousands of U.S. men and women have left their homes, their families and their careers to serve and protect our country.
Now as they return home the old job may not have the same appeal. Or they may simply be ready to transition to civilian life and the next stage of their careers.
The SBA, through nearly 800 lending institutions across the country, has developed a program to encourage and support our service men and women in their entrepreneurial dreams.
It’s called the Patriot Express Loan initiative and according to a recent press release, they have loaned over $100 million to service men and women interested in starting or expanding a business:
“In the eight months since its launch, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Patriot Express Loan Initiative has produced 1,007 SBA guaranteed loans amounting to more than $100 million, with an average loan amount of nearly $101,000, the SBA announced today.”
Who is eligible?
“Military community members including veterans, service-disabled veterans, service members leaving active duty, Reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, spouses of active duty members, and the widowed spouse of a service member who died during service, or of a service-connected disability.”
As with all SBA-backed loans, you make the application through an approved SBA lender, not through the SBA itself. Download the spreadsheet list of approved Patriot Express lenders.
If you or someone you know is interested in a Patriot Express Loan, recommend that they first complete the SBA Small Business Readiness Assessment tool. The Readiness Assessment tool is a self-quiz that will automatically score itself. It will also provide you with a list of of suggested next steps.
You’ll want to take the time to think through different scenarios for your business. The SBA offers tools and resources which will help with such decisions as choosing a business structure.
See also Joel Libava’s recent article: Is Franchising a Viable Option For Veterans?