The committee also heard testimony on legislation aimed at improving SBA programs for veterans:
- The Veterans Entrepreneurship Act (S. 2143), which was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), would permanently remove fees for SBA Express Loans under $350,000 for veterans. Of all SBA loans that go to veterans, 73% are $350,000 and below. Permanently removing these fees would make it cheaper to borrow and help get more small business loans get into the hands of veterans.
- The bipartisan VET Opportunities Act (S. 2396), introduced by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would expand several entrepreneurial development initiatives targeted to veterans as they transition from military service to entrepreneurs. The legislation would authorize the Boots to Business, Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) initiatives into law for five years, as well as double the number of Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) across the country.
SBA-administered programs have helped more than 800,000 veteran entrepreneurs since 2007. These programs include:
- SBA Patriot Express 7(a) Loans: low-interest loans targeted specifically to veteran small business owners.
- Boots to Business: public-private partnership to teach transitioning service members how to start a business.
- Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship: comprehensive entrepreneurial training program designed for women veterans.
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities: specific training and business counseling for service-disabled veterans.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Procurement: sets aside federal contracts for competition only among service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
- Veterans Business Outreach Centers: counseling, training, and mentoring programs for veteran small business owners.