Credit unions and other lenders have helped the SBA's Patriot Express loan program reach the $500 million mark.
Meant to help military veterans, reservists and their spouses start and expand their businesses, more than 6,000 loans have been approved with the average amount at $82,000, the SBA said. 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.