In a landmark decision, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act was signed into law July 28, signifying a monumental win for The American Legion and veteran small business owners.
The new law waives the upfront guarantee fee for veterans applying for 7(a) express loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA), affording recently discharged servicemembers and other veterans opportunities to start new businesses and create more jobs.
With the unemployment rate of veterans serving on active duty since September 2001 substantially higher than the national average, the Veteran Entrepreneurship Act aims to combat the issue by making it easier for veterans and their spouses to attain the private capital they need to start their business – at no cost to taxpayers.
“Entrepreneurship is the answer for many veterans who are ready to work for themselves,” said Joe Sharpe, director of the Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Division. “According to the SBA, veterans are more likely than non-veterans to start their own small businesses. In fact, one out of 10 small businesses across the U.S. is veteran-owned. Together, they generated over $1 trillion in sales last year. And together with Congress, The American Legion is looking for ways of making it easier for veteran entrepreneurs to access capital so that these folks can grow their small businesses, create jobs and get the nation’s economy back on track.”
In a letter to Congress, American Legion National Commander Michael Helm praised Congress for enacting the legislation.
“This bill’s intent is consistent with the nation’s goal of building the veteran small business industrial base,” Helm said. “The high failure rate of small businesses are usually associated with starting new business ventures in severe debt.
"The elimination of the 7(a) loan guarantee fees for veterans is a step in the right direction in protecting our veteran entrepreneurs. The American Legion supports passage of this legislation, and applauds your leadership in addressing this critical issue facing our nation’s servicemembers and veterans.”