(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), convened a committee hearing today on the state of veteran small business ownership, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) current veteran small business programs and the ways the federal government can continue to support veteran entrepreneurs. Yesterday, Chair Shaheen introduced the Heroes Business Opportunity Act of 2023, which would waive the Small Business Administration’s Guaranty Fee (also known as the Upfront Fee) for 7(a) loans up to $1 million made to veteran-owned small businesses. The legislation ensures veterans have the tools they need to access credit that will help them start and grow their small businesses.

Through their military service, veterans often have the can-do approach that makes them successful entrepreneurs. Their discipline, tenacity and leadership abilities may be the reason veterans are more likely to pursue entrepreneurship compared to their civilian counterparts, said Chair Shaheen. I am committed to providing support — including access to capital, counseling, and technical assistance — to tens of thousands of veterans who aspire to start their own businesses. 

Full hearing remarks and testimony can be viewed here.

Witnesses for today’s hearing included: 

  • Col. Tim Green, USAF (Ret), Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Veterans Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, D.C. 

  • Dr. Mike Haynie, Executive Director, Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY  

  • Ms. Lisa Shimkat, State Director, America’s SBDC Iowa, Ames, IA 

As a long-time member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and former small business owner, Chair Shaheen is a fierce advocate for New Hampshire’s—and America’s—veteran small business community. In July 2015, President Obama signed into law Shaheen’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, a bill to lower the cost of Small Business Administration loan programs designed to help veterans start and grow their small businesses. 

Shaheen has also spearheaded additional efforts in the Senate to support military families. In government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2022, Shaheen successfully secured $3 million to implement her bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) that became law. It improves the transferability of military spouses’ occupational licenses and helps alleviate the burden spouses endure from having to constantly re-register their small businesses as they move from state to state with their families. In FY2023 government funding legislation, Shaheen supported the inclusion of $25 million for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon (BYR) program, which funds the New Hampshire National Guard’s Care Coordination Program. BYR programs provide outreach services to troops returning from deployment, including health care, marriage and financial counseling, substance misuse treatment and mental health services.  

Shaheen previously helped introduce legislation to amend the tax code to provide businesses a financial incentive to hire military spouses and create new flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to make it easier for military families to afford childcare. In late 2022, Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, calling on him to use all tools and authorities at his disposal to protect military families from private housing contractors that are not providing protections guaranteed by the military tenant’s bill of rights.