What is LendVets?
LendVets is a new non-profit organization that was created to promote increased access to funding, training and mentoring services for veteran entrepreneurs. LendVets seeks to capitalize on the national goodwill toward and interest in supporting both veterans and small businesses, and to work with existing organizations and initiatives across the country to build a better environment for current and future veteran entrepreneurs.
The name "LendVets" comes from the following definition of the word "lend": "Grant to (someone) the use of (something) on the understanding that it shall be returned."
LendVets is not a charity project for veterans. It seeks to enable intelligent, well-trained and driven veterans of American military service to find the tools and resources they need to succeed as small business owners. If and when they succeed, they will give back to their local communities by hiring employees, paying taxes, providing necessary goods and services, and helping sustain local economies.
The underlying strength of LendVets is its rapidly developing network of contacts at government, corporate and non-profit organizations around the country that are eager to better serve veterans, and are willing to cooperate with LendVets to create a better world for veteran entrepreneurs. From among those organizations, LendVets is creating a board of expert advisors to ensure that it is effectively, efficiently progressing in its efforts to create a better support structure for veteran entrepreneurs.
LendVets was born out of pure chance. A line of thought–what are the facts and statistics about veteran small business ownership?–led us on a quest to read all the major literature on veteran entrepreneurship and to talk with organizations across the country, starting with the U.S. Small Business Administration and steadily progressing deeper into private sector efforts at both the national and local levels.
After several months reviewing the existing research and literature, and talking with more than two-dozen organizations across the country, it became clear that the following was true:
- There are several million veterans who are or want to become small business owners;
- In order to be successful business owners, veterans need access to funding, training and mentoring services;
- Currently, there are many organizations that exist to help fund, train or mentor veterans or entrepreneurs, but they are not well-connected, and veterans are often not aware of them, or are confused about their options;
- The best way to serve veteran entrepreneurs was to create an organization to work with existing organizations across the country to help them better reach veterans, and develop online resources to help veterans become more aware of the options that are available to them.
Out of these assumptions, LendVets was born to build ties between organizations across the country in order to develop a better ecosystem for current and future veteran entrepreneurs, helping veterans succeed and helping the national economy grow.
We hope you will join us on our quest to make the path to small business ownership a little bit smoother for veteran entrepreneurs across the country. We don't promise to change the world overnight; we don't have the money or the resources to make such claims. But we will work, slowly and surely, to create a network and a resource that will cut through the confusion and lack of knowledge to help veteran entrepreneurs find the funding, training and mentoring that will help them succeed.