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Resources for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Learn more about entrepreneurship if you are a veteran

From the desk of Kim Cordingly, Ph.D., Lead Consultant – Self-Employment Team

The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy announced a research report on March 29, 2012, entitled Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners - Data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners documenting the progress of veteran entrepreneurship since the enactment of the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999. The report is based on data from the 2007 Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners released in 2011. This report represents an ongoing effort by the SBA to provide up-to-date and valuable information about business ownership by veterans, including those with service-connected disabilities, to better inform policy decisions in the future.

Employment considerations for veterans overall, and those with service-connected disabilities returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continue to be a policy priority. The Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development's Report to the President - Empowering Veterans through Entrepreneurship (2011) states the following:

In sum, America has both an unquestioned responsibility and a compelling incentive to empower veterans through entrepreneurship, enabling them to become successful small business owners. This Task Force strongly believes that serving veterans who are – or who want to become – small business owners is crucial to America's overall job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness in the world economy.

Veterans with service-connected and non-service connected disabilities are involved in every segment of the U.S. economy, including small business ownership. Veterans of the Armed Forces bring to entrepreneurship important occupational skills and leadership abilities honed through their years of military service. Despite this high level of skill development and managerial experience, veterans find themselves returning to an economy still rebuilding from one of the most severe recessions in U.S. history.

Small business development has been a cornerstone of this recovery effort both in terms of policy priorities and the necessity for many to create jobs where there are none. Even with the credit crunch of recent years, a Kauffman Foundation study showed entrepreneurial activity rose to its highest level in 14 years in 2009. An update to these data issued on March 19, 2012, shows that while there was a drop in U.S. start-up activity in 2010, entrepreneurial activity remains above pre-recession levels.

Select highlights from the SBA Office of Advocacy's Veteran-owned Businesses and Their Owners – Data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners report include:


Veterans are an active and integral part of the entrepreneurial community in the United States, including those with disabilities. JAN's services can provide individualized entrepreneurial supports to veterans with all types of disabilities who are considering self-employment or small business ownership options. See more select resources to get started.

  • The Census estimated that in 2007 there were 2.45 million businesses with majority ownership by veterans.
  • Of all respondents, 8.3 percent were veteran owners who had service connected disabilities.
  • Service-disabled veterans formed a larger proportion of non-employer owners than employer owners, 9.3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
  • Veteran-owned firms represented 9 percent of all U.S. firms.
  • At the time of the survey, 55.4 percent of veteran-owned respondent businesses reported they were home-based.
  • More than half (53.4 percent) of veteran-owned employer firms had one to four employees.
  • Personal and family savings provided the largest source of start-up capital for businesses (61.7 percent) followed by business loans from banks or other commercial lenders, which accounted for the second most important source of capital.
  • The 491,000 veteran-owned employers made up 20.1 percent of all veteran-owned firms.
  • The 1.956 million veteran non-employer businesses made up 79.9 percent of all veteran businesses.
  • For family-owned businesses (with 2 or more members of the family being the majority in the business), 15.1 percent of veteran-owned businesses were reported to be family owned.
  • At the time of this survey, 1.8 percent of veteran-owned businesses were operated as franchises.
veteran in office