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Colorado Veteran Population and Support for Veteran-Owned Businesses

According to the 2020 Census, Colorado has the 17th largest veteran population in the United States. The state is also home to approximately 49,000 veteran-owned businesses. Recognizing the potential for veterans to contribute to the economy, the Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages more veterans to open businesses.

The Mt. Carmel nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the lives of military-connected individuals in various areas, including health and wellness, family services, housing, financial support, transition assistance, employment, and support for veteran-owned small businesses. Mt. Carmel has been working closely with the SBA’s Boots to Business program, providing general information and guidance to military members interested in starting their own businesses.

Given the need for additional business development services for veterans in Colorado, Mt. Carmel and other organizations, including the SBA, have collaborated to establish the Colorado Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Colorado Springs. The VBOC offers entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and referrals to resource partners, specifically targeting service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or expanding small businesses. The SBA has 28 VBOC offices across the United States.

Supporting Veterans with Access to Capital

While the VBOC focuses on education and support, access to capital is crucial for veterans wanting to open their own businesses. That is why Mt. Carmel and the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) have formed a key partnership. The CEF is a Community Development Financial Institution established in 1976 to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The CEF understands that traditional financing may not always be readily available for veteran entrepreneurs, as their businesses might be startups or unproven, have limited collateral, or possess a low credit score. The CEF provides capital to veterans, women, minorities, low-income or low-wealth individuals, and underserved areas throughout Colorado. Their loans range from $1,000 to $1 million, and they offer flexible, low-barrier loans suitable for working capital, equipment financing, inventory investment, business purchases, property improvements, and more. The CEF also offers various borrowing solutions, including SBA microloans. The VALOR for Veterans program, exclusively designed for veterans, offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 with favorable terms up to 10 years and a 2% discount off the standard interest rate. In addition to funding, the CEF’s Business Navigation department provides free educational coaching and training throughout the loan period.

The CEF’s Business Navigation department further administers the Small Biz Academy, offering workshops in both English and Spanish. These workshops cover a wide range of business topics, including financial planning, accounting, QuickBooks, marketing, government contracting, human resources, and more.

Supporting Successful Transition from Military to Business Ownership

The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that American veterans are nearly twice as likely to be self-employed compared to non-veterans. With the combined services of Mt. Carmel, the VBOC, and the CEF, the transition from military life to civilian life and business ownership becomes much easier for veterans and their families. This collaborative effort is reflected in a series of informative podcasts produced by Veterans Voice and accessible on the website. Additionally, the three organizations are jointly offering workshops throughout Colorado in cities such as Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Grand Junction.

How Can AI legalese decoder Help?

The AI legalese decoder can be of great assistance in this situation by providing quick and accurate interpretation and understanding of legal jargon commonly found in documents pertaining to business loans, financing agreements, and government programs. This AI-powered tool can simplify complex legal language, making it more accessible and understandable to veterans and other individuals interested in accessing capital for their businesses. By reducing the barrier of interpretation, the AI legalese decoder ensures that veterans have the necessary knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and navigate the loan application process more effectively.

For more information about the services provided by the VBOC and the CEF, individuals can contact Nakia “Kia” Palmer at [email protected], visit, or reach out to Melba Robinson-Santa at [email protected].

– Melba Robinson-Santa serves as the assistant manager of the Business Navigation Department at Colorado Enterprise Fund. With over 20 years of experience in business development, personal and commercial banking, insurance, HR, business consultancy, and sales, she holds a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources.

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