Provides them with Free Surplus Federal Equipment for their Businesses

Veteran entrepreneurs will benefit from a new law passed earlier this year that aims to help them grow their small businesses, and potentially create new jobs and economic opportunities for other veterans.

The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act adds veteran small business owners to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus personal property, such as office equipment and furniture, construction equipment and farm tools. Veterans can acquire those pieces of equipment and personal property that the federal government no longer has any use for, effectively free of charge.

Previously, only women and minority small business owners and veterans service organizations could access the federal surplus personal property.

“Now that farmer in southern Illinois might not have to stay up at night, worried about how he’ll possibly be able to pay for that generator. Now that veteran who returned from war and went back to school can get the computers she needs to open the doors to her very own practice,” U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois said in an op-ed piece for Military Times Reboot Camp. “And now American taxpayers will no longer have to foot the bill to store all those resources that belong in office buildings and cornfields. A win-win, by anyone’s estimation.”

Veterans are twice as likely to start or lead their own companies as civilians, with roughly 10 percent of small businesses across the country run by those who’ve served.

“It’s because no matter where they were deployed, no matter which branch they call their own, those who’ve worn the uniform have a kind of courage instilled in them that’s impossible to root out — the type of resilience and determination that can turn a longshot idea into a smooth-running, profit-making business,” Duckworth said.

However, in recent years, the number of veterans starting their own companies has plummeted as compared to past generations. A whopping 49.7 percent of World War II veterans went on to run or own businesses, followed by 40 percent of Korean War veterans. Just 4.5 percent of those who served after Sept. 11, 2011 had launched their own businesses as of late 2016.

“We know that veterans are far more likely to hire other veterans, especially those who are struggling with the wounds of war, both visible and otherwise. So fewer vets at the helm of companies means fewer vets throughout the ranks, too,” Duckworth added. “Fewer learning the ropes of an industry. Fewer climbing the ladder to the top. Fewer who, someday, might start a business of their own.”

This law is meant to change those statistics around, and in turn, lead to more career opportunities for our nation’s veterans.

To begin laying claim to unused items, click here to contact your local agency.

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New Law Helps Veteran Small Business Owners

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