If you’re a veteran transitioning back into civilian life and want to start a business, you know how much it takes to cover the startup costs. Many turn to loans, but there are a few veteran-owned business grants that can get your startup the funding it needs without taking on debt.
The vision of the nonprofit group Warrior Rising is to help veterans establish a small business through education, mentorship and financing. They provide grants for veterans who want to start a business.
Warrior Rising’s business creation process has several phases, taking you from an entrepreneur with a great idea to an educated small business owner with a fully funded startup.
What to Expect
1. Submit: Fill out an application and validate your info through a meeting over the phone.
2. Selection: Take part in a more in-depth interview to assess your candidacy for the program.
3. Track designation: You’ll either join the Warrior Academy—a self-paced instruction course to help you learn about entrepreneurship—or you’ll work with a mentor to refine your business plan to create a solid, executable launchpad for your business.
4. Funding: The Warrior Rising organization sometimes provides veteran business grants or loans to help veterans start their businesses, or they’ll guide veterans through the process to try obtaining funding from other sources. Any veteran business fund can be used to cover the initial costs of your business’s equipment, licensing, marketing and other common startup expenses.
Apart from the initial grant to start your business, Warrior Rising offers continued help in accessing additional funding. The organization uses its exposure and network of veteran-focused philanthropists to raise money via crowdfunding. Donations can also be made as small business loans or investments, giving you opportunities to receive funding in exchange for either monthly repayments or stock in your company.
Founded by 2 veterans, small business lender StreetShares provides small business grants to veterans who are entrepreneurs.
To qualify for the StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award, you must be a veteran or reserve/transitioning active member of the U.S. military. (Military spouses and children or other immediate family members of a service member who died while on active duty are also eligible.) Then you’ll submit an application and video pitch about your business.
The video you produce must be 2 minutes long, at the most, and include the following:
- Your business’s impact on the military community
- Personal story
- Business idea and potential for success
- What customer need/ market you’re looking to fill
- Team and business history (if applicable)
- How you’ll use the funding and how it can impact the community
The program is set up like a contest. If accepted, you’ll need to receive enough public votes to be in the group of 8-15 finalists. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll compete at their Military Influencers’ Conference to win 1 of 3 veteran-owned small business grants awarded by StreetShares.
The grant prizes are as follows:
- First place: $15,000
- Second place: $6,000
- Third place: $4,000