(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), today introduced the Heroes Business Opportunity Act of 2023, which would waive the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 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. Tomorrow, at 2:30 PM ET, Chair Shaheen will convene a hearing on the state of veteran small business ownership, the Small Business Administration’s current veteran small business programs and the ways the federal government can continue to support veteran entrepreneurs.
“Granite State veterans apply the same can-do approach they used in the military to start and grow their own small businesses. My legislation will help them and thousands of veterans by waiving some of the fees associated with federal small business loans,” said Chair Shaheen. “The brave men and women of our armed forces do not fail our nation when serving our country, and our nation must not fail them when they return home and transition to civilian life.”
Bill text is available here.
“I think the HBO Act waiver of upfront fees will definitely help veteran owned small businesses because (as I can attest to from personal experience having started 2 businesses) there are often a number of unexpected expenses that come up during the early stages of starting and/or growing a business and therefore it can be a challenge to pay fees and expenses for items that do not directly result in creating profits for a small business,” said Chris Guerrette, owner of Lickee’s & Chewy’s Candies & Creamery in Dover, NH. “It is legislation such as the HBO Act that “quietly” but powerfully helps small businesses succeed, especially for those who have served their country.”
“The Heroes Business Opportunity Act of 2023 would make permanent SBA’s current waiver for FY 2024 on upfront fees for loans up to $1 million,” said Daniel J. Seehafer, National Commander of the American Legion. “This will provide stability to veterans, National Guard Members, Reservists, and Active-Duty servicemembers who are interested in starting small businesses after transition, as well as signal to lenders SBA's long-term commitment to the Veterans Advantage Program.”
“The HBO Act aligns with our collective goal of fostering economic growth and stability within the veteran community,” said J. Michael Haynie, Ph.D., Executive Director, D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. “This bill seeks to alleviate the financial burden on veteran entrepreneurs, providing them with greater access to essential capital for their business ventures. By reducing the guaranty fee for veteran-owned businesses, this legislation not only promotes business development but also strengthens the financial well-being of veterans, their families, and the broader community.”
"For National Guard veterans, starting a business is another way to showcase their commitment, resiliency, and discipline. It not only contributes to the economy but to their community,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, President of the National Guard Association of the United States. “The HBO Act will ease the loan process for many veterans and make it more accessible. Once again, we thank Chairwoman Shaheen for her continued commitment to the military and veteran community.”
In July 2015, President Obama signed into law Chair 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.
Chair 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.