A growing number of states are encouraging entrepreneurship among veterans by either waiving or steeply discounting fees for new business incorporation and annual report filing -- a move that can save veterans hundreds of dollars or more.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), veterans make up 1 out of every 10 small business owners across the country. Along with having put their lives on the line to protect our country, these military heroes are responsible for providing jobs to nearly 6 million Americans. Additionally, not only are veterans more likely to run more than one business, veteran-owned businesses tend to last longer, thus making significant contributions to the American economy.
Because of veterans' business success rate, an increasing number of states are recognizing that it pays to support veteran entrepreneurs. For example:
- West Virginia recently implemented a policy that allows veterans to save as much as $200 through the Boots to Business program, which exempts veterans from paying the registration fee for a new business and the annual report filing fee for the first four years.
- The Washington State Veteran Linked Deposit Program decreases interest rates on small businesses, improving access to capital for certified business enterprises owned by veterans and service members.
- The New York Business Development Corporation's Veterans' Loan Program offers term loans at a below market fixed rate to current or former members of the armed forces.
- The Business License, Tax, and Fee Waiver benefit in California waives municipal, county and state business license fees, taxes and other fees for veterans.
- Michigan, Texas and Georgia also clear veterans from some business formation fees if they meet specific guidelines outlined by each state.
For veteran entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of these programs, here are a few tips to follow:
- Look out for other incentives: State offices aren't the only entities extending deals to veterans. Many organizations have programs geared toward assisting veterans looking to start their own companies. The International Franchise Association's VetFran Directory features more than 600 franchise systems that offer incentives to veterans. Search the VA's Veterans Entrepreneur Portal for more opportunities.
- Fortify your interests: Set up the business the right way from the beginning to help protect personal assets and property. Make incorporation or LLC formation a first step.
- Bring your backup: Organizations such as the SBA, SCORE, the Center for Verification and Evaluation, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), and The Veterans Corporation offer assistance to entrepreneurs who are veterans. Trusted advisors also can help, including professional registered agents who can track requirements and legal deadlines to help ensure a business stays in compliance.
- Share your veteran status: Americans want to help our soldiers succeed. According to NaVOBA, 70 percent of Americans say they are more likely to support a business if it's veteran owned.
Veterans are at the core of America's small business community. By encouraging veteran entrepreneurs and offering incentives to make it easier to run and grow their businesses, states and other government entities are not only benefiting the veterans themselves, but the American economy as a whole.
About Rex Caswell As Vice President of Sales for Wolters Kluwer's CT Corporation, Rex Caswell helps corporate legal departments and small businesses find ways to embrace regulatory compliance solutions and best practices while reducing operational and brand risk. A veteran of the United States Navy, Rex has served in various sales positions and leadership roles at LexisNexis, OneSource and Thomson Reuters Westlaw. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and his MBA from Florida State University.