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Hiring More Heroes: A Review of SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development

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Washington, November 8, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON—Ahead of Veterans Day, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard testimony from Ms. Barbara Carson, the Associate Administrator of the Office of Veterans Business Development at the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), on the tools and resources veterans can access to start or expand their small business.

Our nation’s veterans make extraordinary sacrifices, put their lives on the line, and keep our country safe. They are our fathers, mothers, siblings, and friends. They are our heroes,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

However, veteran employment levels have historically fallen behind those of their nonveteran counterparts. This is often due to the difficulties veterans face when transitioning from the military to the workforce. Research shows that veterans face many barriers to employment that their peers do not, such as potential employers’ difficulty in understanding a military resume or the result of a service-connected disability. We can, and must, do better for them,” Chairman Chabot continued.

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom

America’s armed forces not only defend and protect our nation, but also learn the skillset needed to operate successful businesses. The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development was established to bridge the gap that exists between veteran and nonveteran employment levels.

The SBA is dedicated to serving aspiring and existing veteran business owners. About 2.5 million businesses are majority-owned by veterans, and nearly all veteran-owned businesses are small businesses and contribute approximately 1.4 trillion dollars to the nation’s total sales/receipts per year,” said Barbara Carson. “Many veteran business owners have gained important skills and leadership abilities that are often directly relevant to business ownership.”

The significance of access to capital is one of the greatest challenges small businesses face,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “This is why the Ranking Member and I introduced the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act a couple years back which was signed into law by the President.” 

Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS), asked, “Of all the SBA’s loan programs that are targeting veterans, which ones are most popular for our veteran entrepreneurs?”  To which Ms. Carson replied, “We have the most participation in the 7(a) loan program.”

How do you measure success? Does your department have goals? And if they do, what are the big goals? Where we measure in business, we improve on,” said Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA).

Ms. Carson replied, “We measure things such as business starts, capital acquired, but because of the mission assigned, it will be tougher for that group [veterans]. The results have been increased participation by 12 percent in the last three years, and 55,000 were trained by Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs).”

Several Members of the Committee on Small Business have served, or are still serving, in the military. Mr. Kelly (R-MS), Mr. Knight (R-CA), Mr. Bacon (R-NE), and Mr. Marshall (R-KS), have all served their country honorably both on the battlefield and in the halls of Congress.

Click here to view full video and here to read full testimony.


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