Nearly $500 million in the SBA's Patriot Express loans have been approved by credit unions and other lenders to help military veterans, reservists and their spouses start and expand their businesses.
More than 6,000 have been approved with the average loan amount at $82,000, the SBA said today. Nearly 15% of those loans have gone to military spouses. Launched in June 2007, the Patriot Express loans can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases, according to the agency, adding that most applications are approved within 24 hours. The loans are available up to $500,000.
The SBA said it has also entered into an agreement with six universities to expand and deliver entrepreneurship training for service-disabled veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a program called Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
"As we celebrate Independence Day, we renew our commitment to more than 26 million veterans and service members across the country, including the thousands returning from Iraq and Afghanistan," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "The Patriot Express initiative, in conjunction with other SBA programs, puts more capital and more tools in the hands of veterans as they grow their businesses and create the jobs America needs."