$15 Million Veteran Loan Fund Closes Its First Round With Support From Wells Fargo
Unprecedented initiative in support of veteran entrepreneurs gains momentum
AUSTIN, Texas, July 14, 2022 /3BL Media/ - The Veteran Loan Fund announced today it has raised $15 million to support current and aspiring veteran entrepreneurs, including seed funding from Wells Fargo. The Veteran Loan Fund is a collaborative effort by a national network of Specialized Service Organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) focused on providing affordable capital and technical assistance to Veteran entrepreneurs.
“Veterans returning to civilian life have a high preference for entrepreneurship but frequently lack access to capital, formal business training and a network of peers. The Veteran Loan Fund aims to address all this. Veterans enrolled in this program benefit from access to a network of business coaches and loans with low interest rates,” says Grant Bennett, Director of Veteran Programs and Operating Manager of the Veteran Loan Fund.
National technical assistance partners include Bunker Labs, Vet Met and Vet to CEO. Local partners include Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs. Capital providers (CDFIs) include 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).
Wells Fargo support to the Veteran Loan Fund includes a $3.5 million investment and a $1.5 million grant to make it possible for the CDFIs to provide affordable loans to eligible veterans and for the fund to break even. Since the launch of the fund, member CDFIs have deployed more than $10.5 million in loans, creating more than 500 jobs and providing 2,200 hours of free technical assistance. The estimated annual demand for capital from Veteran entrepreneurs that do not receive any kind of funding for their businesses is $100 million. The Veteran Loan Fund plans to close this gap within five years.
“Entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding career path as people transition out of the military, but veterans need more access to capital and expertise to operationalize their business plans,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “We support the Veteran Loan Fund’s vision for a more inclusive economy and are proud to offer seed funding for this national effort to boost veteran-owned businesses."
About the Veteran Loan Fund
The Veteran Loan Fund (the Fund) was launched in 2021 by a group of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) originally known as the Veteran Collaborative, founded in 2017. The Fund is result of years of collaboration and learnings captured by helping thousands of veteran entrepreneurs across the US overcome the challenges that they encounter when starting a business. Member CDFIs have demonstrated the positive impact of working together to attain increased effectiveness and focus. Areas of cooperation include sharing information, systems, successful management practices along with the development and coordination of loan products and technical assistance programs tailored to veterans and veteran spouses.
For more information, please visit https://www.veteranloanfund.com.