Published November 05, 2019
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau’s survey of small business owners, there are 2.52 million veteran majority-owned businesses in the U.S. The data comes from a report by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (PDF) which shows 99.9% of these businesses are classified as small businesses. This is not to say these businesses don’t contribute to the economy in a big way. In the same report the, SBA reveals veteran owned small businesses employ more than 5 million people in the U.S. Additionally, they generated revenue of $1.14 trillion, an annual payroll of $195 billion and they represent 9.15% of all U.S. businesses.
Veteran Owned Business Stats
When it comes to individual states, the top states by the number of firms and sales are:California (252,377) ($135.1 billion),
Texas (213,590) ($109.9 billion),
Florida (185,756) ($57.7 billion),
New York (137,532) ($55.8 billion), and
Pennsylvania (97,969) ($50.3 billion).
Even though the numbers are impressive, there are a few industries that dominate the businesses veterans own. Close to 30% of all these businesses are in two industry groups: construction and the professional, scientific and technical services group. The biggest share goes to finance and insurance at 13.2%, followed by transportation and warehousing 12.1%, and construction at 11.4%. The remaining segments are wholesale trade 22.9%, retail trade 19.5%, and manufacturing at 12.3%.
As to how veterans are starting their business, they initiate their enterprise by themselves. And more often than not, when they do so, 57% of them are home-based businesses, which is around 5% higher than the rest of the population. In terms of employment, the majority of veteran-owned employer firms are small with 54.5% having one to four employees. Only 9% have 20 or more employees and 3.2% have more than fifty workers in their company.
Supporting Veteran Entrepreneurs
The good news is veterans get support from public and private organizations when it comes to encouraging their entrepreneurial journey. This is not to say they can’t use more resources, because they can. If you are a veteran looking to start or grow your business, there are many resources available to you. The SBA’s “Boots to Business” program, is one such resource.
The program is offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with introductory courses and follow-on support. It is particularly helpful because it provides the necessary resources as vets transfer to civilian life. Another great resource for vet entrepreneurs is SCORE. On its site, you will find everything from mentors, which is what the organization is known for, to funding options entrepreneurship resources and much more. As a vet, you should get started with a mentor on SCORE. These are volunteers who want nothing but the best for you as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey. Even if your business has been up and running for some time, you can find mentors to help you.
Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)
The VBOC is an all-around resource center for vets and their spouses who are looking to start a business. It provides business training, counseling and mentoring services for vets who want to launch, buy or grow their businesses. You can find the nearest VBOC to you here.
The good news is you have many resources available to you as a vet. Before you jump directly to opening a business, find out what is available to you because of the service to your country. Take your time, find out what benefits you qualify for and then use these resources to better ensure the success of your small business. If you are a vet, thank you for serving and good luck on all your future entrepreneurial ventures.
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