AAFE-affiliate, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), has launched two new loan products designed to support United States veterans seeking to start small businesses. The first, the Veteran Small Business Loan, offers loans of up to $30,000 at 4% interest with terms of up to 36 months. The second, the Veteran Mini Microloan for Street Vendors, offers loans of $5,000-$8,000 at 4% interest with terms of up to 24 months. This second loan is aimed at veterans who wish to obtain a New York City General Vendor license in order to establish a street vending operation. A comprehensive technical assistance program, offering guidance on obtaining a General Vendor license as well as support on how to successfully manage a new business, will run parallel to these loan programs.

REDC has identified a great need for this kind of assistance. Finding employment is a major issue for many veterans, who spent years removed from the city workforce and who usually experience difficulties transitioning upon returning from military service. The unemployment rate among veterans in New York is consistently higher than the state average, especially among younger veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011, the unemployment percentage for new veterans in New York was 16.7%; in the nation as a whole, it was 12.1%. These numbers equate to over 234,000 new veterans in New York looking for work after leaving the military. For veterans aged 18 to 24 years old, the statistics are bleaker still, with a nationwide unemployment rate of nearly 30% reported in 2011.

Even with the job skills learned in the U.S. military, veterans frequently need assistance transitioning from military service and reintegrating into a labor market that requires different skills and, in many cases, an undergraduate degree. REDC recognizes veterans as a demographic that would greatly benefit from having greater access to capital, and technical assistance in order to set up their own small businesses, or become licensed street vendors.

“Renaissance is dedicated to assisting populations of people where unemployment is a large factor. We are so honored to be given the opportunity to work with the men and women who have served our country so proudly,” said REDC Business Associate, Fernando Aguilar.

“For various reasons, veterans often encounter significant roadblocks throughout the job market here in New York City. We want to work with them to help overcome these obstacles by creating opportunities of their own,” he added.

For more information about the Veteran Small Business Loan, click here: Veteran Loan Program

For more information about the Veteran Mini Microloan for Street Vendors, click here: Veteran Street Vendor Microloan