A grateful nation holds a special place for those who have served. As thanks for their sacrifice, valor, and fortitude, private and corporate donors, and the U.S. Government offer grants and educational opportunities to empower veterans to succeed in civilian life.
In 2019, over 2.5 million small companies were owned by veterans — that’s 10% of all U.S. businesses. It makes sense. Military veterans are highly trained, mission-focused, and at the ready.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of reputable grants, useful tips, and resources to assist entrepreneurial veterans through the grant application process and on to small business success. We'll keep this page updated as we find more veteran-owned business opportunities.
In This Article:
- Boots to Business (B2B)
- Hivers & Strivers Angel Investment Group
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB)
- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant
- Warrior Rising Small Business Grants
- Veteran Transition Mission (VTM)
Boots to Business (B2B)
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Boots to Business (B2B) is a training program designed to assist veterans and their spouses on their “mission transition” from military life to civilian entrepreneurship.
B2B is an educational partnership between the SBA and the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to offer the following classes:
Introduction to Entrepreneurship. A 2-day, in-person class introduces veterans to business ownership, how to access capital accounting, business models, accounting, and what it takes to be in business.
B2B Revenue Readiness. This optional online course is offered through a partnership with Mississippi State University. These courses take a deeper dive into individual small business-specific topics, like developing a business plan, finding funding, and government contracting opportunities and how to keep your business “squared away.”
Once a participating veteran completes the in-person intro course, all online resources are made available through the University’s online learning platform.
Hivers & Strivers — Venture Capital for Veterans
Hivers and Strivers’ Venture Capital for Veterans fund focuses on early-stage investments of veteran-owned start-ups, awarding grants from $250K to $1M every funding cycle. This angel investment team was formed by a group of U.S. military academy graduates who created this fund solely to invest in veteran-owned businesses.
Hivers and Strivers is not a charity or a non-profit. They are savvy business investors who happen to also be veterans, and are looking for a return on their VCV investments. The Hivers and Strivers fund regularly achieves 20%+ IRR on businesses they fund.
Qualifications are exacting. Hivers and Strivers seek elite former military members, other graduates of military academies, and those who have gained advanced degrees after their service, with a proven track record of leadership — in and out of the military.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB)
Also an SBA program, the federal government sets aside 3% of its annual contracting budget to be awarded solely for service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB). To qualify for this program, your business has to meet the following standards:
- Be a small business according to the Small Business Association’s size standards
- Have a service-connected disability
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans
- Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations, who is also involved in making long-term decisions
To certify as a veteran-owned business, find eligibility requirements here.
Once qualified, SDVOSBs gain access to SAM.gov’s massive index of federal grants and contracts specifically set aside for service-disabled veteran businesses and exposure to the U.S. Government’s vast supply chain network. Learn more about the SBA’s Veteran services and Veteran-owned Business services.
Learn about the SBA's grants for service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant
Another SBA grant program geared towards veteran-owned businesses is the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant.
If your VOSB does research for the U.S. Government, you may qualify for the STTR grant. Managed by the SBA, various government agencies determine and designate their research needs and accept proposals from qualified VOSBs
While the grant is managed by the SBA, various government agencies and departments designate research topics and accept business proposals from VOSBs with the requisite expertise in Defense, Health, Energy, NASA, Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.
Learn more about the STTR program.
Warrior Rising Small Business Grants
Warrior Rising wants to turn veterans into “Vetrepreneurs” This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is dedicated to helping former U.S. military servicemen and women succeed in business as civilians. Veteran-led, Warrior Rising provides training and mentorship programs, as well as financial and material grants to qualifying military vets.
To get involved, you’ll need to complete an online application detailing your military service, business idea, where you are in the process of starting your business, and your goals. Once completed, Warrior Rising follows up with a phone interview to better understand your particular needs and assess which path is right for you — business plan development or in-depth mentoring.
Lastly, veteran applicants are asked to complete a virtual course to gain access to Warrior Rising’s educational tools and various grant opportunities.
Veteran Transition Mission (VTM)
The Veteran Transition Mission (VTM) helps veterans learn valuable vocational and technical skills through hands-on education programs. Currently, VTM offers certification courses in IT & Cybersecurity, and Coding Bootcamps to help vets quickly transition into high-paying, skilled employment in the civilian sector.
These are not college grants for veterans. They cover the cost of training and certification in these technology fields — often the only thing you’ll need to land a job in IT or cybersecurity. Moreover, the program provides all training materials and will cover the cost of transportation if there’s no local training facility nearby.
To apply, schedule a call with an advisor:
StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Awards
Streetshares is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by military veterans “to inspire, educate and support the military entrepreneurial community.” Streetshares Foundation provides financial support to veteran-owned small businesses through their ongoing Veteran Small Business Awards and Female Founders Veteran Small Business Award.
Grants of up to $15K are awarded annually to winners. You must be a U.S. veteran to apply. Start by downloading the Veteran Owned Small Business Guide, by entering a valid email address. A link to the application will be sent to your inbox.
Learn more about applying for the Streetshares grant programs.
Veterans make great entrepreneurs…Veterans don’t give up. Mark L. Rockefeller, Founder StreetShares
Get Help Applying for these Programs
Do you need help applying for these programs or need other business funding? We can also help with EIDL, SBA loans, grants, or other business financing options. Get ongoing personalized help from our team. Join Skip Premium today and get 1-1 support for your business.
How Else Can Skip Help? Whether you need assistance navigating funding for your small business — like SBA loans, grants, or other financing options, or guidance with government-related services — like TSA PreCheck or DMV appointments, we’re ready to help. Become a member and skip the red tape.