New Jersey veterans received 58 percent more loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration than they did in 2016, it was reported today.
According to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, New Jersey veterans received a total of 68 loans for $17 million in fiscal year 2017 compared to 43 loans for $17.3 million during fiscal year 2016.
“We are definitely putting more capital in the hands of veteran entrepreneurs in New Jersey,” said Titone. “These totals reflect the significant outreach by our district office, as well as the additional products, services and resources the SBA has made available to the veteran community.”
This year SBA loans to New Jersey veterans ranged from the smallest loan of $5,000 to the largest loan of $2 million. The average loan approval to a veteran was $243,000. According to Titone, the loans supported businesses like food markets, restaurants, gymnasiums, and manufacturers. Of the 68 loans approved, 50 loans for $10.2 million went to existing small businesses, while 18 loans for $6.3 million went to new businesses. These loans helped to create 198 jobs and retain another 330 jobs.
Middlesex County led the way in SBA veteran loan approvals with nine loans for $941,000. Bergen and Monmouth Counties followed with seven loans for $2.8 million and 1.7 million respectively. Rounding out the top five were Ocean County with six loan approvals for $2.6 million; Cumberland County with five loans for $1.2 million; and Burlington County with five loans for $490,000.
One veteran-owned business that benefited from an SBA-backed loan was Shred Shared LLC of Woodbine located in Cape May County. Anthony Kohanski, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and his partners Cory Terry and Pierre Tanguay needed a $56,000 loan from Sturdy Bank to launch the only platform for “Online Fitness Coaches” to sell custom plans, regimens and programs. Since opening at the end of July, the business model has changed from a local concept to now offering the Shred Shared services to a broader audience. “By removing the location restrictions, we are looking to be an international platform by December 1st of this year,” said Kohanski.
“I see reduction in our lending fees for veterans and our Boots to Business and our Boots to Business Reboot training programs as the key to what is driving our success here in New Jersey,” said Titone. “It is gratifying that we can offer veterans 0 fees on all 7(a) loans under $125,000 and 0 fees on all amounts of our SBAExpress loans up to $350,000 in fiscal year 2018. Under our Veteran Advantage program, loans of $125,001 up to $150,000 will carry a fee of 1% of the guaranteed portion, and for loans from $150,001 up to $350,000 will carry a fee of 1.5% of the guaranteed portion of the loans. For non-veterans those fees are 2% and 3% respectively. There is no question these measures have made loans less expensive for our veterans.”
Titone also cited the SBA’s Boots to Business program offered by the agency as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) as a way to prepare veterans for entrepreneurship. “The curriculum continuum includes steps for evaluating business concepts, the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan and information on SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance,” explained Titone. “We are reaching military personnel just before they are transitioning back into civilian life. The agency is continuing its aggressive approach by taking this program to the military bases and teaching those about to separate from the military all about entrepreneurship.”
“Our Boots to Business: Reboot Entrepreneurship Training for Veterans has allowed us to host and support a half dozen Boots to Business: Reboot entrepreneurship training programs targeted for veterans located throughout New Jersey. The program is open to veterans of all eras, who have been separated from the military for quite some time,” said Titone. “Our reach has included service members (including members of the National Guard and Reserves) and their spouses. We have been supported in this effort by the American Legion, the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers and SCORE. We continue to be encouraged by the response and support the veterans’ community has given this program. As the veteran population continues to grow, we are hopeful that the program will help even more veteran-owned businesses in 2018.”