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Loan program helps veterans

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An expanded and renamed state program is offering loans of up to $20,000 apiece to recently retired military service members who want to start businesses, and also to small businesses that suffered due to loss of essential employees being called to military service, under a law passed in the 2010 legislative session.

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The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is administrating the program, called the Minnesota Reservist and Veteran Business Loan Program.

Both the business and start-up business loans are one-time, interest-free loans, available from $5,000 to $20,000. Terms are for four and a half years, with no repayment over the first year and a half and equal monthly payments for the remaining three years.

Start-up business loans are available to businesses that are owned and operated by a recently separated veteran (after September 11, 2001).

To qualify for this program, a veteran must have been on active duty on or after 9/11 and have been separated under honorable conditions after having been on active duty for at least 181 consecutive days or the full active duty period (or after disability incurred while on active duty).

"Small business is vital to central Minnesota," said Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. "These programs were developed for hard-working entrepreneurs that understand sacrifice and reward. I hope this resource can give back and help them return to their feet."

Applications for these loans are available at www.positivelyminnesota.com under "reservist and veteran business loan."

Questions about this loan program can be directed to Jeff Nelson at (651) 259-7523 or jeff.m.nelson@state.mn.us.

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