For entrepreneurs with a military background, one option is to use the GI Bill to start a business. Despite its long history and integral role in the United States military, the GI Bill benefits still remain somewhat unclear to those who could use the extra boost to get their companies started off right. But does the range of business loans for veterans encompass such an idea? Let’s delve into how you can use GI bill to start a business.
The GI Bill Explained
Before we explain how the GI Bill works, it’s probably wise to lay a solid foundation by dipping into what it is. Introduced in 1944, the GI Bill provides qualifying veterans and their families with the financial means to continue their education after their service has ended. This coverage typically includes either a portion or the entirety of tuition for college, graduate school or other training.
However, the GI Bill has changed and evolved over the years. Veterans should always check with their GI Bill statement of benefits to determine exactly what they are eligible for and how much, if any, of their allotted benefits they have already used.
For example, the post-9/11 GI Bill — which became law in 2008 — provides veterans who served after that historic tragedy with coverage that encompasses school or job training. These benefits can be transferred to a spouse or child if necessary and may even apply to tuition and fees at foreign schools as well. However, while veterans have had some flexibility with the educational opportunities they can apply their GI Bill benefits to, this hasn’t always been the case when it comes to starting a business. Until, suddenly, it was. Somewhat.
How the GI Bill Changed
A couple of years ago, a bill that would amend the post-9/11 GI Bill to allow veterans to use their benefits as collateral for startups funds began to make some progress. However, despite passing the Senate in 2017, this change does not appear to have been made into law, at least not yet. Although it has received unanimous approval from the Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, it has not been made official. This does not mean, though, that veterans who are looking to enter the business world are completely without options.
Even if the GI Bill benefits don’t directly provide the small business startup funds you need, many other resources — including the U.S. Small Business Administration — are ready and willing to lend a hand.
Veterans who aspire to join the entrepreneurial community are still encouraged to do so. It just takes more digging to find the organizations that offer assistance. While the GI Bill doesn’t currently provide the funds you might have hoped for, it does provide some guidance on getting a new company off the ground.
Train for Your Future
Even though the post-9/11 GI Bill is limited primarily to educational pursuits, veterans who want to start a business can leverage their GI Bill benefits for entrepreneurship training. Such coverage still falls within the primary scope of the GI Bill and provides veterans great training to start a business rather than continue their formal education. With the Small Business Administration, your GI Bill can still play an instrumental role in getting you ready to start your business.
In fact, if you couple this training with the small business loans for veterans you may be able to secure elsewhere, you could be in excellent shape when it comes to launching your new company and building it to last. This training is even included in the scope of other VA programs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill and the Veterans Educational Assistance Program. You can contact your local VA small business liaison for details.
Hopefully, the inclusion of entrepreneurship training is an indication that the GI Bill may someday soon cover startup funds as part of its purview.
Bright Future Ahead
Even though we aimed to clear up how the GI Bill may impact a veteran’s new business venture, we know that answering every single question you may have is beyond the possible scope of this article. Incfile is more than happy to address your lingering issues as you plan the future of your business. We aim to empower businesses like yours to hit the ground running from launch and onward, providing extensive resources and expert assistance you can use to successfully navigate the competitive business landscape. To learn more about how we can help, check out our website and get started today!
Robert Yaniz Jr.
Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm