Did you know that there are approximately 2.4 million veteran-owned firms in the United States?1 According to the Center of Excellence (COE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship, 12% of veterans are self-employed, and a recent survey by the U.S. Small Business Association found that veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.
Not only are people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces frequently drawn to entrepreneurship; they are often very successful at it. They have incredible leadership skills, are disciplined, and understand what it takes to build and guide a team toward success. Fubu founder and “Shark Tank” investor Daymond John said military veterans “know how to accomplish a task, and they are somebody who wants to give, so I think that they are excellent CEOs.”
If you are a veteran or are transitioning from military to civilian life and are interested in starting your own business, there are plenty of resources available that can help you on your path to the American dream of being your own boss. Here are just a few:
The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in partnership with BusinessUSA has created this convenient portal for veterans who want to become entrepreneurs. Visit the portal to connect with resources and Federal services that can help you on your journey to starting a business. Access valuable information and interactive tools on best practices, financing, finding opportunities, and more.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – The SBA provides assistance to entrepreneurs in several different ways including business financing, training, contracting and business advocacy. The SBA also supports veteran entrepreneurship through initiatives such as:
Veteranentrepreneurship.org – Created by the Center of Excellence (COE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University, this is a comprehensive resource directory for anyone interested in veteran entrepreneurship. Search a database of national, state and local resources for veteran mentorship, academic programs, funding, wounded warriors, business development, advertising, incubators and much more.
V-WISE – Syracuse University also operates Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE). This entrepreneurship and small business training program is designed to help women veterans and female military spouses/partners learn skills to turn their business idea into a reality, or grow an existing startup. The three-phase program includes an online course, 3-day in-person event and ongoing mentorship.
Veterans Business Resource Center – The goal of the Veterans Business Resource Center is to assist veterans in their entrepreneurial endeavors. It primarily services Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska but has relationships with Veterans Business Outreach Centers throughout the country. The Center offers training in business plans, financials, marketing, sales, human resource management and more, and has also developed a 5-phase veteran entrepreneur process.
BuyVeteran.com – Buy Veteran is a national campaign to encourage companies to support American businesses owned by military veterans. If you are a veteran who owns a business, you can list your company here for free, or become a member and receive additional benefits including a badge to use on your website and marketing, and a subscription to the printed Vetrepreneur® magazine.
Transition your military skills into a successful business. Use the resources above to help launch your business idea and jump-start your post-military career!