Guide to Resources for Military Veterans – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 By the Numbers: U.S. Veteran-Owned Businesses | 2018 Thu, 08 Nov 2018 14:36:01 +0000

(Updated | November 8, 2018)

As we’ve  often shared, military veterans can be great employees–and great owners–of small businesses. The following statistics related to U.S military veterans who own businesses were issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy in April 2017. The source of the data is the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners conducted in 2012. That survey had 80 sets of data containing veteran-related information released in December 2015 and February 2016. The complete study and sources can be found in this PDF.

Overview of  veteran-owned businesses

2.52 million |  Businesses in the U.S. that are majority-owned by veterans

442,485 | Veteran-owned businesses with employees
2.08 million | Self-employed veteran businesses (no employees)

9.1% | Percentage of all U.S. businesses that are majority-owned by veterans

$1.14 trillion | Total annual revenues of veteran-owned businesses
5.03 million | Total number of employees of veteran-owned businesses
$195 billion | Annual payroll of veteran-owned businesses

Ranking of industries for veteran-owned businesses

The top seven industries for veteran-owned firms as a percentage of all veteran-owned businesses.

16.6% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
12.2% | Construction
11.8% | Other services
8.6%  | Real estate
8.1% | Retail trade
8.1% | Retail trade
8.0% | Administrative and support

Industries with the highest percentage of veteran-owned businesses

While 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses are veteran-owned, the percentage of veteran-owned businesses varies by industry.

12.8% | Finance and insurance (Percentage of industry businesses owned by veterans)
12.1% | Transportation and warehousing
11.4% | Construction
11.3% | Agriculture, forestry and fishing
10.9% | Utilities
10.8% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
10.2% | Manufacturing

video via YouTube

Veteran-owned firms by gender

84.3% | Male veteran-owned businesses
15.2% | Female veteran-owned businesses

Veteran-owned firms by owners’ race or ethnicity

Multiple categories could be chosen. Self-identified answer.

85.1% | White
10.7% | African American
7% | Hispanic
2.1% | Asian American
1.3% | American Indian or Alaska Native
.3% | Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

States with most veteran-owned businesses

252,377 | California
213,590 |  Texas
185,756 | Florida
137,532 | New York
97,969 | Pennsylvania

States where the highest percentage of all businesses are veteran-owned 

13% | South Carolina
12.2% |  New Hampshire
11.7% | Virginia
11.7% | Alaska
11.4% | Mississippi

Who are the major customers of veteran-owned small businesses?

Major customers are those who account for 10 percent or more of a firm’s sales.

67.6% | Consumers
37.9% | Businesses
5.1% | State and local governments
3.2% | Federal government


Veteran business owners are older than business owners in general.

74% | 55 years old and over (veteran-owned business)
41% | 55 years old and over (“all owners”)

11.7% | Under 45 years old (veteran-owned business)
32.5% | Under 45 years old (“all owners”)

3.4% | Under 35 years old (veteran-owned business)
13.5% | Under 35 years old (“all owners”)


Method of  veteran-owned business startup

85.3%  | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their self-employed business
74.3% | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their business with employees

10.8% | Owners who purchased their businesses
2.7% | Inherited their businesses
2.8% | Acquired their ownership by transfer or as gift

Full Report (PDF) | Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners, Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners

Photo: istock

SBA Resources That Help U.S. Military Veterans Start and Run Businesses | 2017 Sun, 02 Jul 2017 11:00:45 +0000

(Updated November 9, 2017) As part of our on-going salute to U.S. military veterans who own (or who are want to start), here is a list of Small Business Administration programs and agencies that encourage the creation and support of veteran-owned businesses. This list is a part of the Guide to Resources for Military Veterans


(Photo via MediaWiki Commons)

SBA Office of Veterans Business Development

Offers a number of programs and services to support and empower aspiring and existing veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses. SBA provides training and mentorship, access to capital, preparation for opportunities in federal procurement, and cultivation of connections within commercial supply chains and disaster relief assistance. Each year, SBA serves over 200,000 veterans, service disabled veterans and military spouses across the United States and at military installations around the globe.

Boots to Business

The two-step entrepreneurial program offered by the SBA on military installations around the world as a training track of the Department of Defense (DOD) Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

Boots to Business|Reboot

Extends the entrepreneurship training offered in TAP on military installations to veterans of all eras in their communities.

Veterans Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE)

An SBA funded program provided by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. V-WISE includes online training, a conference that harnesses the unique esprit de corps of women veterans and female military spouses, and follow-on mentoring through a community of partners.

The National Center for Veterans Institute for Procurement

Extends the entrepreneurship training offered in TAP on military installations to veterans of all eras in their communities.

Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

Provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

Veteran’s Administration’s Entrepreneur Portal

The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time with direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship. VEP makes it easier for small businesses to access federal services, regardless of its source—and quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information.

SCORE Veteran Fast Launch Initiative

The SCORE Foundation, in partnership with major corporations, offers the “Veteran Fast Launch” initiative. This program is a combined package of free software and services combined with SCORE’s mentoring program in order to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to start and succeed as small business owners.

SBA Operation Boots to Business Training Program

Boots to Business is the two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

SBA Veterans Business Outreach Centers

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. The SBA has 20 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

USAF drill team

(Photo: USAF Drill Team via USAF on Flickr)

Financing for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital (LINC)

This online matchmaking service, connects small business owners with nonprofit lenders that offer free financial advice and specialize in microlending, smaller loans (SBA Community Advantage program), and real estate financing (SBA 504 loan program).

SBA Veterans AdvantageDownload Adobe Reader to read this link content

Guarantees loans approved to businesses owned by veterans or military spouses during fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017) will receive the benefit of its regular guaranty fee reduced by 50%, when the loan is over $150,000.

SBA Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Act of 2015Download Adobe Reader to read this link content

Reduces the upfront borrower fee to zero dollars for eligible veterans and military spouses for SBA Express loans up to $350,000.

blue angels

(US Navy Blue Angels, Photo: on Flickr via DVIDSHUB)


Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL)

Provides loans up to $2 million to eligible small businesses to cover operating costs that cannot be met due to the loss of an essential employee called to active duty in the Reserves or National Guard.


(U.S. Army Golden Eagles, Photo: via

More resources for U.S. military veterans who own a small business or who want to start a small business can be found in the Guide to Resources for Military Veterans.

Cover photo: U.S. Marine Corps



]]> 4067 Five Traits of Military Veterans That Make Them Great Employees Tue, 10 Nov 2015 22:01:11 +0000

(Updated 11/11/2015 to reflect recent employment statistics.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for all veterans fell to 4.2 percent in August, a drop from 4.7 percent a month earlier and from 5.6 percent a year ago. The monthly mark hasn’t been that low since May 2008. The figure translates into about 450,000 veterans nationwide looking for work. That estimate was more than 1 million about four years ago and near 700,000 in early 2014.

Here’s some good news to celebrate this Veterans Day: Employers are recognizing the value of hiring veterans. While more than 400,000 veterans nationwide are looking for work, the rate of unemployment among veterans is below that of the overall population.

A study by Payscale indicates the military prepares its men and women well for business in our technological age. The study shows that veterans are most often hired for technology jobs, which isn’t surprising since today’s military depends heavily on technology. The study also noted that businesses may be unaware that the military instills character and personality traits that are valuable to small businesses. Here are just five (of many) traits that make it a smart decision for small businesses to hire veterans.

 1. Leadership

George Washington at Trenton

(Image: via wikimedia commons)

Every veteran has had the experience of being both a leader and a follower, of taking the initiative and also of following the chain of command. That’s invaluable in a small business, where each employee plays several roles. Veterans also excel at establishing and meeting objectives—another important trait in owners, managers and employees of small businesses.

 2. Control under pressure

grace under pressure

(Photo: on Flickr via Marines)

Running a small business requires functioning well under pressure. That’s a skill most people have to learn, and most veterans have the equivalent of PhDs when it comes to performing under stress. They’re prepared to react well to the unexpected and to make good decisions in high-pressure, uncertain situations.

3. Teamwork and dedication

The Battle Of Takur Ghar

(Image: on Flickr via The National Guard)

From their first day in boot camp, veterans learn the value of teamwork for solving problems and meeting goals. Though no longer on active duty, veterans will remain solid team players by following respectfully and leading by example.

4. Integrity


(Photo: via wikimedia commons)

Teamwork and trust are possible only with integrity—service members have to be sure they can depend on one another to carry out their assignments. Doing the right thing is just as important in business as it is in battle. Integrity is the foundation of powerful relationships with clients, employees and your community.

 5. Goal-oriented

Naval Academy graduation

(Photo: via wikimedia commons)

Thanks to the chain of command, military men and women have been trained to set and follow goals. They know what happens to individuals who set and meet their goals—they’re promoted. As a result, veterans understand better then most that if you want to strive for upward promotion and success you need to set goals.

(Also contributing to this post were David Hollerith and Bill Hudgins.)

(Featured Photo: via wikimedia commons)

Resources That Help Small Businesses Find and Hire Veterans | 2015 Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:11:53 +0000

We’ve shared why a small business should hire a military veteran. But where do you find a candidate for your next job opening? Here are five resources to help you find men and women who have served their country and are now ready to apply their service and leadership skills to being your next great employee. These resources and initiatives–governmental, non-profits, and even a veteran-run startup company–can help you learn more about hiring veterans, and even help you find a perfect one for your company.

1. Recruit Military


Recruit Military is full-service military-to-civilian recruiting firm in the United States started and run by military veterans. The company uses online and offline products to connect employers, franchisors and educational institutions with men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, veterans who already have civilian work experience, members of the National Guard and reserve forces, and military spouses.

2. Hiring Our Heroes


Funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative focusing on helping veterans, transitioning service men and women, and military spouses find meaningful jobs in the public, private and non-profit sectors.Recently, Hiring Our Heroes has shifted towards using digital resources to better help military service men and women translate their experience into a resume that will help them find the right employment no matter where they are in the world.

3. Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR)


ESGR is an office in the Department of Defense which focuses on helping employers support, value and gain from the employment of members of the National Guard and Reserve in America. The office does this by advocating mutually beneficial initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, and resolving conflict between employers and service members.

4. National Resource Center


The National Resources Center (NRC) is a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. Information collected and displayed by the center is from federal, state and local government agencies; veteran and military service organizations; non-profit and community-based organizations; academic institutions and professional associations that provide assistance to wounded warriors and their families.

The NRC provides this website widget that veterans can use to track down resources, including job-related opportunities.

(Featured Photo: U.S. Army via Flickr)

Resources for a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Tue, 10 Nov 2015 15:37:43 +0000

If your company is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB), it may be eligible for set-asides in federal contracts. (“Set-asides” are a small percentage of a government procurement designated to be spent with a specific type of supplier.) The SDVOSB certification substantially increases the number of opportunities available to a certified business. 

What is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)?

To qualify for SDVOSB certification and set-asides in federal contracts, a business must meet the following criteria:

  • The service-disabled veteran (SDV) must have a service-related disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense
  • The SDVOSB must be “small” under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement
  • The SDV must unconditionally own 51 percent of the SDVOSB
  • The SDV must control the management and daily operations of the SDVOSB
  • The SDV must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSB

Set-aside Opportunities

Each federal agency sets participation goals for small businesses in procurement contracts. Regulations require Federal purchases more than $3,000, but less than $150,000 to automatically reserve, or set aside, a portion of the contract monies for small businesses. There are exceptions; full details are available on the SBA website.

Getting started

How to certify your military service

To be considered a veteran you must have your DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) in order to prove your service in the armed forces. Go to the National Archives site to request your service record.

How to validate your service-connected disability

To be considered a service-disabled veteran you must have a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or your discharge paper from the branch of service you were in, stating that you have a service-connected disability rating ranging from 0–100 percent disability.

Why you should self-certify

According to Veterans Affairs, Public Law 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, there is no required minimum disability rating. This means a veteran with a 0 percent disability rating letter is eligible to self-represent as a service-disabled veteran for federal contracting purposes. The important factor is to make sure you have established a disability rating from your branch of the service—not the degree of the disability.


State Government Agencies That Encourage Business Ownership by Military Veterans Mon, 10 Nov 2014 03:59:22 +0000

In addition to federal government and private programs related to supporting military veterans who are business owners, most states have offices or agencies that help veterans access their benefits, run programs related to the employment of veterans, and encourage business ownership by military veterans. This is a list of links to such state agencies.

(Please note the following: Not all states have specific programs, but contact the agency listed for your state. They may provide help and information, even if there is not a formal program. Also, thank you for helping us keep this list up-to-date. If you discover a broken link or link that goes to the wrong place on a state’s website, please email us to let us know:


  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

See also: Information on small business resources for veterans can be found on The WIKI at the Veterans Category Hub.