When Veterans try to obtain a “grant” for their small business from the VA they realize there aren’t any grants. What exists at the VA is a small business program to help Service Disabled Veterans that have at least 20% disability rating. But it’s not a grant and doesn’t provide cash. What it does provide is comprehensive training and support for their business idea through a VA self-employment plan. However, many challenges exist for eligible Veterans in the program because the VA understandably expects that any Veteran receiving its support will have their own “skin in the game” too. That requires the Veteran to show capital is available from their own resources and/or a bank. Since most banks don’t like startup loans, the Veteran without capital can have a difficult problem.
Enter Kiva and Veterans Business Services!
Kiva celebrates and supports people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. That includes the Veteran community. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco. Kiva solicits loans from individuals around the world in increments as little as $25. Kiva then lends as much as $5,000 to first time borrowers at 0% interest for time frames up to 3 years. Kiva never takes a fee from lenders, which means 100% of the funds lent on Kiva go to supporting borrowers’ loans. Kiva’s own lenders crowdfund an average of $2.5 million in loans each week, creating a unique, renewable pool of funds that are reshaping access to financial services around the world. Kiva crowdfunds loans for borrowers in more than 80 countries who are often excluded and can’t access other fair and affordable sources of credit. In the U.S., Kiva can provide loans for Veterans whose small businesses are creating social impact in their communities.
As stated by the Huffington Post, “In lieu of a financial profit from the money you lend, you get something that, in my opinion, is more valuable: the chance to make a tangible difference in the world and to impact a stranger’s life in a positive, permanent way. Kiva is not about investing money in the traditional sense; it’s about using your excess cash to jump start a life somewhere else in the world.” And what could be better than helping a Veteran life and helping their own community too.
Veterans Business Services (VBS) is launching its own Kiva campaign to assist Veterans to use Kiva for their own self-employment plans. This will help Veterans in Vocational Rehabilitation develop plans to obtain their own “skin in the game”. And these same Veterans will also receive comprehensive training from the VA and mentor other Veterans who want to start businesses or acquire franchises. VBS has been successful using Kiva to develop its business model. Please go to Kiva.org and search on “Veterans Business Services to help.”
VBS is looking for Veteran partners who would like to replicate the VBS business model on a State by State basis. Prospective partners should contact us at VBS website at www.veteransbusinessservices.us
VBS has been designated by VA as a small business service provider for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE). See Veterans Administration’s M28R Manual
A Veteran who wishes to apply for VRE benefits should click here: https://www.vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/default.asp
VBS Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, has been a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise acquisition training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises. Jim and his wife, Nancy, live in Oregon City, Oregon.