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Loans available for returning veterans

Returning military veterans who want to launch their own businesses in Minnesota may be eligible for new interest-free loans under an expanded and renamed program administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Department (DEED).

The Minnesota Reservist and Veteran Business Loan Program will make loans of up to $20,000 available to veterans recently separated from military service who are seeking financial help for starting small businesses.

"Veterans have successful track records as entrepreneurs, having developed leadership abilities and other skills in the military that are essential for running a business," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Veteran-owned businesses create jobs in Minnesota and contribute to the growth of our economy."

Previously, the program was known as the Military Reservist Economic Injury Loan Program, which provides no-interest loans of up to $20,000 to businesses that suffered financial hardships because of the temporary loss of essential employees (including business owners) to military service.

The economic injury loans will continue to be offered under the expanded measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty this spring.

Under the program, the interest-free loans must be paid back in 54 months, with no repayment in the first 18 months, followed by equal monthly payments over the remaining 36 months.

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