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Small business grants are available for veterans

Woman wearing camo military uniform sits at desk doing paperwork.

If you’ve served in the US military and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, small business grants for veterans are an invaluable resource that can help you start or grow your venture.

Next Insurance reports on how you can tap into these grants and join the ranks of nearly two million veteran-owned businesses that provide jobs to over five million Americans.

The 8 best small business grants for veterans

A grant is a financial award given to support business development. Unlike small business funding from loans, grants aren’t paid back, which means you can invest every dollar to advance your business goals.

These are some of the top grants designed with veterans in mind.

1. US Chamber of Commerce America’s Top Small Business Awards

The America’s Top Small Business award is perfect for veterans who’ve been on the business battlefield for at least a year. If your for-profit business has fewer than 250 employees or less than $20 million in revenue over the past two years, you could compete for the grand prize: A $25,000 grant to scale your operations.

2. Warriors Rising

Warrior Rising supports veterans and their families interested in entrepreneurship and who are just starting out or looking to expand. With a grant competition and a six-step business development program, this nonprofit offers more than just funding. This “one stop shop for veterans” provides training, coaching, mentoring, funding and networking to help facilitate small business growth.

3. National Association for Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

If you manage your own business, NASE Growth Grants offer $4,000 quarterly to help you expand operations. Veterans can benefit from a 15% discount on annual membership and apply for a grant as soon as they join. This organization can help businesses secure funds for marketing, advertising, staff and other business needs.

4. Stephen L. Tadlock Veterans Grant

The Stephen L. Tadlock Veteran Grant provides valuable small business grants for disabled veterans and veteran-owned small businesses with two to 100 employees. It offers microgrants that distribute $1,000 to 25 recipients annually to fund business activities. If your revenue is under $5 million, this grant could offer a financial boost to keep your business on track.

5. The Second Service Foundation

The Military Entrepreneur Challenge (MEC) is a grant program from the Second Service Foundation. It features speed coaching and a private pitch session with a judging panel for a chance to win a small business grant for veterans. Register online, participate in coaching, submit your small business grant application, and if accepted, prepare to impress with a compelling two-minute business pitch.

6. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest awards ten grants of $30,000 and provides an additional $20,000 to one of the grant recipients. To be eligible, your business should be profit-oriented, employ fewer than 99 workers and maintain a FedEx business shipping account.

7. Venmo Small Business Grant

Although not exclusively for veterans, the Venmo Small Business Grant program awards a $10,000 grant to 20 small business owners. Recipients also gain access to industry leaders for guidance and support, as well as opportunities to feature their business on Venmo’s social media platforms.

8. Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

For veterans pursuing a calling in agriculture, the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is tailored to those in the early stages of a farm or ranch business. It offers awards from $1,000 to $5,000. You must join the Farmer Veteran Coalition to qualify, and membership grants access to a community and resources that can help support your business.

State-specific small business grants for veterans

As a veteran entrepreneur, you have access to state-specific grants designed to strengthen small businesses in your local area, including:

  • The Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant — Chicago provides $100,000 to Illinois-based for-profit companies. You must operate a service-based or B2B company with 2-20 employees, and generate annual revenue between $100,000 and $3 million.
  • Also, from Founders First, the Southern California Job Creators Grant awards up to $100,000 to 25 local businesses. Eligible businesses must have at least two employees and be located in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial or San Diego.
  • Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab (MVE-Lab) is open to veterans and military spouses. A Grand Valley State University initiative, MVE-Lab operates as a cohort and awards at least $20,000 in small business grants.
  • The Texas Woman’s University Veteran Woman Grant provides 25 grants worth $5,000 to women veterans who own and control at least 51% of their business. This small business grant for women could be a significant asset to your company.
  • The Beyond Open Small Business Grant benefits entrepreneurs in Charlotte, North Carolina, with financial assistance from $10,000 to $150,000.

Alternative grants to support veteran small business owners

Other small business funding opportunities include qualifying for a small business loan. These include:

Resources to find veteran small business grants

To explore additional small business grants for veterans and non-veterans alike, is a database of over 1,000 federal funding programs from the Department of Labor, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Commerce and more.

Another resource is GrantWatch, featuring over 27,000 funding programs. Similar to, GrantWatch is open to a wide audience, but its search tool lets you filter veteran-specific opportunities. Browsing is free, but a paid subscription is required for full access.

This story was produced by Next Insurance and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.