There are currently over 19 million veterans in the United States and 2 million women veterans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) recognizes the impact that veterans have on the American economy and provides strong support for veterans to build, grow, and scale their businesses in various industries. The SBA works to maximize the availability of loans, grants, financial assistance for veterans, service-disabled veterans, reserve component members, and their dependents or survivors.
Additionally, veterans, small business owners, and entrepreneurs can go to their local Small Business Development Centers (“SBDCs”) for free business consulting and at-cost training, on topics including business planning, accessing capital, marketing, technology development, and other issues. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies, private sector partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the SBA.
Veteran-owned businesses are an integral part of our economy: 99.9 percent of all veteran-owned businesses are small businesses, they employ more than five million people, and they account for annual payrolls of $195 billion.
However, according to recent data, there is only about one veteran-owned firm for every ten veterans. This comprises less than 10% of all veterans who own and operate a business. Compare that to the 1940s, where almost 50% of all U.S. World War II veterans eventually became entrepreneurs. Today, about 25% percent of transitioning service members want to start a business, yet few have the fiscal and foundational support they need to start and grow their ideas. This is why it’s crucial for veterans and returning servicemen and women to be aware of the available federal, state, and local resources to assist them in developing their businesses.
Currently, there are 2.4 million veteran- and/or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Construction and professional and technical services make up the most popular industries for veteran-owned firms. The Boots to Business education and training program and the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program both aim to provide veterans with the tools to connect with lenders, learn entrepreneurial skills, and become visible for federal procurement opportunities. With the support of these programs and additional federal, state, and local resources, we hope more veterans and transitioning service men and women will continue to start and grow their businesses.