Senator Supports Bill to Help Veterans Start Businesses

Original Article: Independent Herald

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced her support for bipartisan legislation today that would offer veterans access to resources provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and their G.I. Bill benefit to open a business. The Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act of 2015 (VET Act) is authored by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

“As our service members in West Virginia and across the country transition from military to civilian life, many are eager to become small business owners and entrepreneurs. With 9 percent of businesses owned by veterans, we need to create opportunities and spur growth for others who aspire to start their own ventures,” said Senator Capito. “The VET Act will give our veterans flexibility, choice and the resources they need to achieve their goals and boost the economy.”

While some veterans choose to use their G.I. Benefits to pursue higher education, more often veterans are looking to enter the workforce. According to the Small Business Administration, veterans made up 9.1 percent of all business owners in 2012. The VET Act proposes an innovative way to support veterans in their professional development by offering veterans a choice in accessing the resources, training and support they need to start a small business, create jobs and generate economic growth.

The VET Act establishes a three-year pilot program that would enable up to 250 G.I. Bill benefit-eligible veterans to start a new business or purchase an existing business or franchise. The program would be overseen by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in consultation with the SBA Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The pilot program includes a thorough application process and requires participation in an approved entrepreneurial training program. Interested veterans would be required to develop a business plan to be approved by their training program advisor and the SBA’s Associate Administrator for Veterans Business Development.

The VET Act is supported by the Small Business Administration, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans2Commerce, 1 Vet At A Time, the American Legion, the Military Business Owners Association, The Bunker, The Kauffman Foundation and Association of Defense Communities. U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis (ret), former Commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has also offered support for the legislation.