PeopleFund is honored to be one of twelve Community Development Financial Institutions announcing the creation of the Veteran Loan Fund, with Bank of America as the lead capital investor.
The Veteran Loan Fund aims to fill the financial and training gap that underserved military veterans face when building a small business. This fund includes a network of veteran service organizations focused on technical assistance and formal business coaching coupled with a network of twelve specialized capital providers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Eligible veterans benefit from free business coaching and loans with interest rates of 10% or less.
“The goal of the Veteran Loan Fund is to help CDFIs across the country provide access to affordable financing and technical assistance to veteran entrepreneurs whose funding needs often go unmet. It is an honor for PeopleFund to play a leading role in helping those who have given so much to this country,” said Gustavo Lasala, President and CEO of PeopleFund, managing member of the Veteran Loan Fund.
It has been demonstrated that many veterans returning to civilian life, have a high preference for independence and entrepreneurship but often lack access to capital, formal business training and a network of professional peers. The Veteran Collaborative, now rebranded as the Veteran Loan Fund, was established in 2017 as an effort to consolidate best business practices to engage with and support veteran entrepreneurs.
Specialized technical assistance partners include Bunker Labs, Vet Met, Vet to CEO, as well as local partnerships with Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs. The current list of member CDFIs of this nationwide collaboration are: Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (GA), Black Business Investment Fund (FLA), Business Impact Northwest (WA, OR), Colorado Enterprise Fund (CO), Dream Spring (NM), Economic and Community Development Institute (OH), Pathway Lending (TN, AL, KY), PeopleFund – managing member (TX), Pursuit – formerly Excelsior Growth Fund (NJ, NY, PA), and Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation (WI).
The Veteran Loan Fund’s first $15 million round is made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below-market rate lending capital from Bank of America as the lead investor, along with historic support from other major institutions in the form of loan capital and grants. The fund plans to grow to $100 million within five years, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from veteran entrepreneurs that do not receive any kind of funding.
“Our long-standing partnership with PeopleFund has allowed Bank of America to promote social and economic progress for entrepreneurs in Austin who may not qualify for traditional loans. Bank of America’s Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program (VELP), which first launched in 2018, is just one of the ways in which we’ve previously worked with PeopleFund to provide affordable capital to U.S. military veteran business owners,” says David Bader, President of Bank of America Austin. “When we heard about their plan to partner with other CDFI’s across the nation to launch this new Veteran Loan Fund, we knew we wanted to support the initiative in a big way.”
For more information about The Veteran Loan Fund please visit us at: https://www.vet.loan/join-us/.
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