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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

Topics

Forget Silicon Valley: 5 Reasons Veteran Entrepreneurs Launch Startups In Unexpected Places

The US Navy Blue Angels numbers 5 and 6 fly near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California as part of a practice run for Fleet Week on October 6, 2016. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

This article was originally published in Forbes. 

I recently read a list of the 10 best cities to launch a startup. It included the places you’d expect: Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Tel Aviv, London, Chicago, Seattle, Berlin and Singapore.

My co-founder and I launched our startup, StreetShares, outside of Washington, DC, which was not on the list. For two years now, people have been telling us to move our company to Silicon Valley. Even now, I write this article on a plane heading back from investor meetings in San Francisco where we were told we should move, yet again. We’ve resisted.

Here’s why many entrepreneurs, particularly “vetrepreneurs” (those with military experience like us), choose to launch their startups away from the conventional hotspots.

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Top 10 Most Influential Military Spouse Business Owners

By StreetShares on May 12, 2017

Life as a military spouse can be full of adventure, fun, new beginnings and discounts galore. It also can be full of uncertainty, sacrifice and self-reliance; moves are endless, friendships are constantly evolving, and children are uprooted. Unfortunately, the transitory nature of the military has an especially deep impact on spouse’s employment opportunities.

Recent statistics have shown more than 90 percent of military spouses are underemployed or overqualified for the jobs they currently hold, and salary for those jobs is 38 percent less than the civilian equivalent. Beyond that, unemployment among military spouses is extremely high at 26 percent, or three times higher than the national average. Hiring managers tend to look for longevity on resumes – one thing that military spouses cannot provide.

This year, May 12, 2017 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. To memorialize this day we wanted to focus in on some incredibly influential military spouses who, through their successful businesses, have either worked to change the unemployment rate among military spouses or have simply found a way to defy the odds and have become influential through their admirable business models. We are excited to highlight these 10 amazing women as a way to show our appreciation for all they are doing in the military community and illuminate their own unique service to our country.

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April 2017 Veteran Business Grants Given to Veteran Business Owners

As we kick off National Military Appreciation Month the StreetShares Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the April Veteran Small Business Awards. These winners and veteran small business owners have a common business mission – to help veterans build their lives after leaving the military, whether it’s through a new therapy or working on an inspiring new idea. As veteran entrepreneurs, they’ve leveraged the veteran business community to help grow their small businesses through programs like the Bunker Labs, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) and through veteran business grants from the StreetShares Foundation. Without further ado, we are proud to announce this month’s winners:

First Place: Kendra Simpkins, Army Veteran, Owner/Clinical Practitioner at Sarasota Rapid Resolution Therapy (Sarasota, Florida)

Second Place: Eddy Mejia, Army Veteran, Founder/CEO of ShoeBoxOne (Chicago, Illinois)

Third Place: Maria Mayes, Army Veteran, Founder, Managing Partner at Morgan Veteran Recruiting Group (Tulsa, Oklahoma) 

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Small Business Impact on the U.S. Economy & How Business Funding Helps

Do you realize how much our big economy relies on small business? As we celebrate National Small Business Week, let’s take a look at exactly how much small businesses impact the U.S. economy and more specifically how StreetShares small business owners and veteran business owners make an impact.

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4 Secrets to Become a Successful Veteran Government Contractor

The U.S. Government constantly adjusts and grows as new needs arise with changes in technology and resources. As the nation's largest consumer, the government needs an army of contractors to support its massive consumption requirements. As a result, the benefits available through government contracts are abounding. Veteran contractors are perfect candidates to fill this growing landscape because of your previous employment by the government. You’ve also learned lessons, acquired tools, and made contacts from your military experience that could be valuable in the government contracting space.

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How to Read an OnDeck Loan Offer and Prepayment Discount Fine Print



Not everyone has enough time to apply for a traditional bank or a SBA business loan or can pass the stringent underwriting criteria. So, many veteran business owners turn to online lenders who make it quick and easy to get business funding. However, small business lending doesn’t have near as much regulation as mortgage or student lending. So, some lenders find ways to explain their terms that may be confusing to any small business owner. Understanding the terrain of business loan offers is a challenge and we want to help you discern the differences and the fine print.

A few weeks ago, we provided loan calculators that presented the true cost of capital for a Kabbage loan offer. Today, we’d like to do the same for an OnDeck business loan offer as well as help you understand their prepayment charges.

OnDeck Loan Offers

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the main number you’ll want to look at to understand the true cost of capital. The APR takes every fee into consideration, including the factor rate, interest rate and other fees, and calculates it into a complete annual calculation.

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How Your Tax Refund Can Help You Score Better Credit

By StreetShares on April 12, 2017
If you’re getting a tax refund this year, you’ve got three major options when it comes to using the money: You can save it. You can invest it. Or you can splurge. But break things down a little further, and that check (back) from Uncle Sam can help you build credit, too. For serious.

Here are six ways your tax refund could help you build — or even establish — your credit scores.

1. Pay Down Credit Card Balances

Second rule of credit scores: Keep your debt level below at least 30% (and ideally 10%) of your total available credit. Anything beyond that is bad for your credit utilization ratio. If you’re over that limit or, worse yet, bumping up against your limits, putting your tax refund toward your credit card balances can help improve your credit score. Better yet …

2. Pay Off High-Interest Credit Card Debt

Because those balances are going to spike pretty fast. Plus, you’ll be saving money in the long run. Good rule of thumb when it comes to dealing with multiple credit card balances: Make all your minimums, but put more money toward either the smallest (because motivation) or the one with the highest annual percentage rate (because, like we said, it’ll cost you less). You can see how your credit card use is affecting your credit by viewing two of your scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

See also: How to Improve Your Personal Credit Score

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April 2017 Veteran Small Business Award Finalists

The Veteran Small Business Award continues! We have 10 great veteran business owners with very unique companies from 3D printing, recruiting services to children’s technology enrichment programs. Take a quick peak at the finalists below and remember to cast your vote on the StreetShares Foundation voting page. Vote now and help three veteran business owners get grant funding.

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StreetShares Foundation Dedicates May to Military Spouse Business Owners

May 12, 2017 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. On this day, Americans celebrate the backbone of the families who support our military service members during mission, deployment and reintegration.

The StreetShares Foundation is dedicating the full month of May to appreciate Military Spouse business owners through the Veteran Small Business Award. Military Spouses have a unique position as business owners. We’re looking forward to rewarding three exceptional Military Spouse business owners with $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

For the month of April, we will be accepting applicants from ONLY Military Spouse business owners. Eligibility requirements are the same, except you must be married to a member of the military, reserves, National Guard, or a veteran of these services and must prove it. To get started, download the ebook exclusively designed to give Military Spouse business owners resources to help them get started and to grow, all in one place. Then, apply with a 300-word summary of your business and a short video.

>> CLICK HERE TO APPLY <<

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How to Calculate True Cost of Capital for a Kabbage Loan Offer

By StreetShares on March 30, 2017

As a small business owner, you’re most likely aware of a lot of lending options such as applying at a traditional bank, asking friends and family members or bootstrapping. If you’re here visiting the StreetShares blog, you’re obviously aware that online lending is also a great option for small businesses who need up to a $100,000 loan or a line of credit or $500,000 for government contractor invoice factoring. 

However, understanding your different loan offers can be overwhelming. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to provide examples of how each online lender, including Kabbage and OnDeck, break down their loan offers. These blog posts will help veteran business owners conduct your own apples-to-apples comparison of different business loan offers.

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