SBA to waive loan fees for vet entrepreneurs


LITTLE ROCK — A new Small Business Administration initiative to increase veteran-owned firms will waive upfront fees on business loans to veterans of up to $350,000, officials said Friday.

The initiative, part of the SBA Express program, will start in January and run through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2014, SBA Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit said during a panel discussion on business opportunities for veterans at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The panel discussion, led by U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., was part of National Veterans Small Business Week, an initiative to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and business owners in the lead-up to Veterans Day on Monday. It was also an official meeting of the Senate Small Business Subcommittee, and the testimony given will be entered into the Senate Record, said Pryor, the only subcommittee member present.

“We have a higher unemployment rate in the veterans’ community than we do in the general population, so we want to try to address that,” Pryor said. “The Small Business Administration has now entered into several really good partnerships with the Department of Labor, the Department of Transportation and others to try to allow veterans to get into the U.S. economy on the private sector side, which is great.”