Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

Business Loans for Veterans

Are you a veteran looking for a business loan?

It doesn't have to Veteran's Day for some of the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs. Here's what you need to know:

SBA (7a) loans require an up-front guaranty fee. But for veterans, the fee for SBA Veterans Advantage loans less than $350,000 is 0%. The goal is to encourage greater participation in SBA lending programs by veteran-owned small businesses.

As a snapshot of all SBA veteran loans, up to 73% require $350,000 or less, which is currently supported by the SBA Express Loan Program. Over the last 10 years, nearly 60% of all SBA 7(a) loans have been supported through this loan program. This program has been one of the most popular for veterans securing capital to start small businesses.

The benefit for veterans taking advantage of this program is that since they will no longer have to pay an upfront fee to secure financing for an SBA 7(a) loan, making it easier for the borrower to come up with start-up costs for their small business. Additionally, there is a low, on-going lender fee of 0.55% for these SBA Veterans Advantage loans.

Since kicking off the veteran loan incentive program back in 2016, the number of SBA veteran-specific loans rose more 4% from the previous year. Subsequently, both the 7(a) and 504 lending programs to veterans exceeded $1.36 billion for the last two consecutive years.

The SBA also provides business counseling and training for veterans to the tune of $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. Since 2009, SBA lending has nearly doubled to support veteran-owned small businesses.

To qualify for the new veteran-friendly incentive, at least 51% primary ownership by qualified candidates must fall into one of the following groups:

  • Veterans
  • Service-Disabled Vets
  • Active Duty Military service member participating in TAP (Transition Assistance Program);
  • National Guard or Reserve members;
  • Current spouse of any Veteran, Active Duty service member or Reservist/National Guard member
  • Widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service of a service-connected disability 

Next Steps

Learn about other Veterans programs for small businesses at

If you are a Napa or Sonoma County veteran needing a business loan (either with a business or are ready to launch one), call the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center to learn how we can help you navigate the loan process:

  • Napa County: (707) 256-7250
  • Sonoma County: (707) 595-0060

Read more about our loan application advisory services.

Need Help Starting or Growing your Business?

It all starts here. Complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.