Saluting Veteran Small Business Owners on Veterans Day

By at 11 November, 2022, 11:56 am



by Raymond J. Keating –

November 11 is Veterans Day. It’s a date to mark and thank all of the men and women who have served this nation in the armed forces. As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains: “Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime.”

At SBE Council, we wholeheartedly agree and also appreciate veterans who went on to become entrepreneurs.

Based on the most recent data, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported: “Veteran-owned businesses made up about 5.9% (337,934) of all businesses, with an estimated $947.7 billion in receipts, approximately 3.9 million employees, and about $177.7 billion in annual payroll.”

Also, the SBA’s Office of Advocacy has noted: “In 2018, veterans owned about … 5.9% of all U.S. employers. Veterans also owned about 1.4 million nonemployer firms in 2017, or 5.6% of all nonemployer firms. Both figures are roughly in line with the 5.6% of the U.S. population that identify as veterans.”

Finally, it’s worth taking a look at veterans as entrepreneurs. A 2021 study from by the Veterans Future Lab (VFL) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and Barclays, “leveraged a multimodal data collection approach to capture veterans’ experiences along their entrepreneurship journey, including challenges, successes, resources used, and lessons learned. The study also gathered perspectives from active duty Service members and Reservists who may embark on the entrepreneurship journey in the future.”

Consider some key findings:

“Interview participants often described how the goal-oriented nature of military culture honed their own sense of responsibility, determination, and perseverance. Participants said these traits have been crucial to success in their entrepreneurial ventures.”

“Survey respondents demonstrated having characteristics associated with entrepreneurship, scoring high on resilience, curiosity and exploration, and optimism scales.”

“When asked about their top reasons for pursuing entrepreneurship, survey respondents commonly cited the freedom of being their own boss, personal interests or education/career background, and financial independence.”

Of course, all entrepreneurs face challenges as well, and among those highlighted in this study were “difficulty identifying professional opportunities during their transition into civilian life,” with “finding access to resources related to business management support, networking, marketing, and gaining capital to be the most challenging obstacles of entrepreneurship.”

So, on this Veterans Day, we salute veterans for their service to our country as members of the armed forces, and as entrepreneurs who serve consumers.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest book is The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.


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