The Veteran Collaborative Announces the Creation of the Veteran Loan Fund
The Veteran Loan Fund aims to fill the financial and training gap that underserved veterans face when building a small business. This fund includes a network of veteran service organizations focused on technical assistance and formal business coaching coupled with a network of twelve specialized capital providers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Eligible Veterans benefit from free business coaching and loans with interest rates of 10% or less.
It has been demonstrated that veterans returning to civil life have a high preference for independence and entrepreneurship but lack access to capital, formal business training and a network of peers. The Veteran Collaborative, now rebranded Veteran Loan Fund, was born in 2017 as an effort to consolidate best business practices to engage with and support veteran entrepreneurs.
“Veterans make great entrepreneurs. As a veteran, it is an honor to launch the Veteran Loan Fund to provide the capital and resources that they need to start and grow their small business. In doing so, we are helping them attain the American Dream.” says Grant Bennett, director of Veteran Programs and operating manager of the Veteran Loan Fund.
Specialized technical assistance partners include Bunker Labs, Vet Met, Vet to CEO, as well as local partnerships with Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs. The full list of member CDFI’s of this nationwide collaboration are, Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (GA), Black Business Investment Fund (FLA), Business Impact Northwest (WA, OR), Colorado Enterprise Fund (CO), Dream Spring (NM), Economic and Community Development Institute (OH), Pathway Lending (TN, AL, KY), PeopleFund - managing member (TX), Pursuit - formerly Excelsior Growth Fund (NJ, NY, PA), and Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation (WI).
The Veteran Loan Fund’s first $15 million round is made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below market rate lending capital from Bank of America as lead investor, along with historic support from other major institutions. The fund plans to grow to $100 million within five years, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from Veteran entrepreneurs that do not receive any kind of funding for their businesses.
“The flow of capital has a significant role to play in advancing opportunities for veterans,” said Dan Letendre, CDFI Lending and Investing executive at Bank of America. “By investing in the Veteran Loan Fund, we can help bring untapped potential among our local veteran entrepreneurs to the forefront and help to drive innovation, expanding job growth and creating generational wealth across our communities.”
For more information, please visit https://www.vet.loan.
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Jenny Palecek, PeopleFund
Vanessa Cook, Bank of America