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 grants for veteran-owned startups that can get you the funding you need without taking on debt.
The vision of the nonprofit group Warrior Rising is to give veterans small business help through education, mentorship and financing. They provide grants for veterans who want to start a business.
Warrior Rising’s business creation process has 6 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. Qualification course: Refine your business plan to create a solid, executable plan with a mentor.
4. Group designation: Final review of the application. If accepted, you’ll be placed into one of two groups:
Tier 1: Featured on the Warrior Rising website
Tier 2: Introduced to program investors
5. Operational fund: A mentor helps you through the process of receiving and creating a plan to use the funding.
6. Mission execution: Continued mentorship as part of Warrior Rising family. You’ll be expected to help future participants after you grow your business.
The funds 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 any additional funding you’ll need. 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.
Street Shares Foundation
Founded by two veterans, small business lender StreetShares provides small business grants to veteran entrepreneurs.
To qualify for the Street Shares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award, you must be a veteran or reserve/transitioning active member of the U.S. military. 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 32 finalists. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll compete at their Military Influencers’ Conference to win 1 of 4 veteran-owned small business grants awarded by StreetShares.
The grant prizes are as follows:
- First place: $15,000
- Second place: $5,000
- Third place: $2,500
- Fourth place: $2,500