Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA-06) joined Lou Correa (D-CA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) to introduce HR 4433, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2021.
The legislation would allow veterans to pursue their small business and entrepreneurial aspirations by giving them access to resources through the Small Business Administration and their GI Bill benefit.
The key elements of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act are:
Establishment of a three-year pilot program overseen by the administrator of the Small Business Administration that will allow up to 250 GI Bill-eligible veterans to complete an entrepreneurial training program.
The pilot program includes an in-depth application process and requires participation in an approved entrepreneurial training program.
Veterans are required to develop a business plan that must be approved by their training program advisor and the SBA Associate Administrator for Veteran Business Development.
The grant available to Veterans participating in this pilot program may be equivalent to the GI Bill’s maximum amount of 36 months of educational assistance at the rate in effect for each Veteran under the GI Bill benefits program.
If approved, the grant can be used by a veteran to open their own business or purchase a franchise.
“Veterans face an intimidating mission when they leave service and move on to civilian life,” Cline said. “Higher education is essential for many, but some have a different vocation. Veterans are looking for more options and want the choice to use their GI Bill Advantage to start their own business.
“It makes sense to offer veterans the choice to access resources, training and support to pursue the American dream of starting a small business, creating jobs and generating growth in our economy. I thank Congressmen Correa and Fortenberry for joining me in this effort to give back to those who have given so much in the service of our country, ”said Cline.
“By helping veterans build businesses, we are investing in the best and the brightest in America,” Correa said. “When our soldiers transition into civilian life, they bring with them tremendous skills and experiences. Everyone is a trained leader who has proven they can get things done in the most stressful environments. Veterans know how to manage risk on the battlefield. This is what soldiers train for. And that’s what a successful entrepreneur does: manage risk.
“Our veterans are uniquely able to contribute to our communities. I am proud to join Representative Ben Cline in bringing forward bipartisan legislation that invests in veteran entrepreneurs and encourages them to pursue the American Dream, ”Correa said.
“Veteran-owned businesses make up nearly 10 percent of US small businesses, employing more than 5 million Americans,” Fortenberry said. “I am pleased to support the reintroduction of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act to give our Veterans access to training and entrepreneurial capital through the use of their GI Bill benefits.
The text of the bill is available here.