Angela R. Burton retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 2004 as a Sergeant First Class with more than 21 years of service.
Angela R. Burton retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 2004 as a Sergeant First Class with more than 21 years of service.

HARLINGEN, RGV – As the SBA celebrates National Veterans Small Business Week, November 4 thru November 11, it reminds me of the thousands of service members transitioning each year from military to civilian life.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has been at the forefront of assisting veterans and their families with a variety of entrepreneurial, government contracting and capital access resources.Why is this important?

According to the 2007 U.S. Census Survey of Small Business, U.S. military veterans owned 2.4 million businesses, accounting for nine percent of all business nationally. Moreover, these veteran owned businesses generated $1.2 trillion in receipts or 4.1 percent of all business receipts nationwide and employed an estimated 5.8 million people.

Other interesting survey facts indicated there were 117,277 veteran-owned businesses with receipts of $1 million or more and 7,446 veteran-owned businesses employing 100 or more people.

Likewise, Texas is the second highest state with the largest number of veteran-owned businesses estimated at 199,476 businesses or 8.1 percent of the total. California and Florida are the other two top states with California having the largest number and Florida the third highest number. Among U.S. cities with the highest number of veteran owned businesses, New York City placed first, Los Angeles second and Houston third.

In Fiscal Year 2013, SBA supported more than $1.8 billion in lending to over 3,000 veteran-owned small businesses. In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, veterans received $874,000 dollars in SBA-backed loans. Also in 2013, as part of our partnership with the lending community, SBA worked with our top national, regional and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by five percent per year for the next five years through the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative.

SBA also offers special assistance for small businesses owned by or employing activated Reserve and National Guard members. For example, military reservist business owners and companies that employ a military reservist in a key position may qualify for SBA’s Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program when an active duty call-up results in a financial hardship on the business.

So, as Veterans Day approaches, a holiday which honors people who have served in the armed forces also think about the contribution veterans make to the national economy through their continued courage, experience, specialized skills and their entrepreneurial spirit.

For more information about SBA veteran resources contact Angela R. Burton or Reynaldo Vasquez at (956) 427-8533 or email to [email protected]

Angela R. Burton is deputy district director, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office of the Small Business Administration

About the writer: Angela Burton retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 2004 as a Sergeant First Class with more than 21 years of service. Her service included a Tour of Duty in Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, tours in Central America as well as many areas in the United States. Her final assignment included training troops in preparation for assignments in Iraq. In November 2003, because of her excellence in training and leadership the 4th Training Brigade awarded Angela “Instructor of the Year 2003”. (The 4th Brigade covers a nine state region.)