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TheStreet Open House

3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Nov. 9

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Startup rate among veterans sinks as population ages. Veterans aren't starting nearly as many small businesses as they used to, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, citing a study by the Kauffman Foundation.

Kauffman found that veterans accounted for more than 12% of all startups in 1996; in 2011, only 6% of new businesses were started by veterans, citing an aging veteran population and not enough resources available to help younger veterans launch businesses.

"Younger veterans now have less support from within their own community of veterans as they consider their own entrepreneurial ventures: fewer networking opportunities, mentors and funders among the older generations of vets," Dane Strangler, Kauffman's director of research and policy, told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. "What we don't yet know is how this may affect younger veterans' pursuit of entrepreneurship."

Separately, the Small Business Administration partnered earlier this year with the U.S. Marine Corps to provide entrepreneurship training to returning service members. The program will be expanded next year to all branches of the military, the article says.

2. Not-for-profit launches to help more veterans qualify for small-business loans. The Veterans Business Fund, a not-for-profit organization created to provide financial assistance to veterans, will launch on Monday its first low-interest loan for veterans. The organization was established in response to the high unemployment rate among veterans, many of whom are skilled through their military experience to become successful small-business owners but lack sufficient equity capital to qualify for a small-business loan.

Veterans Business Fund will provide capital to veterans in the form of low-interest loans with favorable terms. All principal and interest paid to the organization will be made available to future veteran entrepreneurs requiring assistance in meeting the equity requirements for a small-business loan. The fund was established by BoeFly, an online marketplace connecting small-business owners with more than 2,400 lenders, in conjunction with the International Franchise Association, SCORE, SunTrust (STI) and others.

The fund has aligned with the International Franchise Association's VetFran program to help encourage franchising, with its focused training opportunities, defined structure and systems, and requirement for operational excellence as a viable path for veterans.

"BoeFly has a solid understanding of the equity requirements required by small-business lenders and the challenges many veteran entrepreneurs face in meeting them, and we realize small-business ownership is out of reach for too many veterans who lack the capital," said Mike Rozman, co-president of BoeFly and a member of the VBF Board of Directors. "We created the Veterans Business Fund to provide veterans with the supplemental capital required to satisfy the equity requirements for a small-business loan, and ultimately help make it possible for them to apply their military experience to owning a business while creating jobs and helping to boost our economy."

3. Biz2Credit also helping veterans secure small-business financing. Biz2Credit, another online resource for small-business finance, launched on Oct. 31 a package of services to help former service men and women start their own companies.

Veterans seeking to begin, and former military members who own small companies in operation for less than three years with less than $1 million in sales and fewer than 50 employees, will be able to take advantage of the Biz2Credit's small-business loan package that has an estimated value of $1,200. The offer will be available until Nov. 30.

The package includes: preparation of a business plan prepared by Biz2Credit's small-business experts ($499 value); one month of financial consultation by a Biz2Credit case manager ($499 value); access to Biz2Credit's proprietary BizAnalyzer, which provides small-business owners with a financial snapshot of their companies and recommends ways to increase credit scores and lower their interest rates ($99 value); a 50% discount on Equifax credit reports ($99 value); and 1 GB of document storage on Biz2Credit.com.

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, veteran-owned firms represent 9% of all U.S. companies. Overall, there are about 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses that employ more than 5.8 million workers," said Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit and one of the nation's leading experts in small-business lending. "Service members transitioning back to civilian life are natural entrepreneurs and possess the training, experience, and leadership skills that enable them to start businesses and create jobs. We're doing our part to help them.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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