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Serving Those Who Serve

By Bernard J. Paprocki


Serving those who have faithfully served our country is a core value at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As a result of their military training and experiences, veterans have developed skills and leadership abilities that are naturally suited to operating a business. At SBA, we are committed to getting veteran entrepreneurs the resources and tools they need to succeed with access to capital, counseling services, veteran-focused training, and support pursuing government contracts. 

Access to capital — Starting Oct. 1, all new SBA loans up to $350,000 to qualified veteran–owned businesses approved using the SBA Express program will have zero one-time guaranty fees. This enhancement will save veteran entrepreneurs up to $5,250 in fees. Separately, new SBA-loan approvals exceeding $350,000 to qualified veteran-owned businesses may benefit from other upfront fee discounts. 

Free counseling services — If you are just starting out, the SBA can help with writing a business plan, developing financial projections, finding target markets, and much more. Veterans can find free, confidential business counseling from our family of resource partners. They include a local Small Business Development Center, SCORE Chapter, Women’s Business Center, and Veterans Business Outreach Center. Our offices in Albany, Elmira, and Syracuse also have veteran business development officers that provide one-on-one counseling for veteran entrepreneurs. 

Free veteran-focused training programs — Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Boots to Business/Reboot is an entrepreneurial training program designed for veterans and their dependents who have already made the transition back to civilian life. Both programs include steps for evaluating business concepts and the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan. To register online for a class near you, please visit 

Government contracting — Veteran-owned businesses have found success in selling to Uncle Sam this fiscal year, with nearly 2,000 awards valued at $59.7 million in our 34-county district of upstate New York. Of those awards, service-disabled veterans won 182 worth $13 million. With workshops, matchmaking events, and procurement-focused counseling from SBA, veteran entrepreneurs can continue to find more federal contracting opportunities.

So whether you are a veteran, active-duty service member, reservist, National Guard member, or spouse, I encourage you to learn more about how the SBA can help you achieve your dream of entrepreneurship. Visit our district website at                          

Bernard Paprocki is district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Syracuse district office. He is responsible for the delivery of SBA’s financial programs and business development services for a 34-county region in upstate New York.


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