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Washington, D.C. --A bill cosponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi that will benefit veteran entrepreneurs was signed into law this week by the president.

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act became law Tuesday. It will establish a network of veterans business assistance centers across the country through the federally chartered National Veterans Business Development Corporation.

"We owe a lot to our veterans. They are what has helped make our country prosperous," Enzi said. "We are enabling them to serve our country once again by strengthening our communities with the opportunity that this law now provides."

Funding for the corporation will consist of $2 million in fiscal year 2000, $4 million in 2001 and 2002, and $2 million in 2003. The corporation will use the money to establish its offices and make startup loans to veterans who want to establish or expand their business. In 2001, the corporation will be required to match half of the funding it receives from the federal government with money raised in the private sector. In 2002 and 2003, federal money will have to be matched fully by private sector funds.

The corporation will operate in conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA's responsibility to include veterans in its programs providing financial and technical assistance is emphasized in the legislation. Those administering federal loans are now required to lend service disabled veterans 3 percent of the total SBA loan money available. Also, small business military reservists will have access to economic injury disaster loans when called to active duty. There will be a system of outstanding loan deferral for those reservists.

For more information or how to receive help, contact the SBA Wyoming district office at 1-800-776-9144, ext. 1.