Veterans make great entrepreneurs. In fact, many of the skills veterans learn in their military training translate very well to business. Skills such as: confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus are some that veterans share with successful entrepreneurs.
According to the Small Business Administration, veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales. Additionally, of that 2.4 million, veteran women own close to 100,000 businesses, making up 4 percent of the market.
Many of those women veteran entrepreneurs are likely also minorities. In 2015, data collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that “a higher percentage of women-veterans than non-veterans were Black or African American non-Hispanic (19 percent compared with 12 percent). The racial composition of women in the military explains some of these differences. In contrast, the percentage of women-veterans who were Hispanic was a little more than half that of non-Veterans (9 percent compared with 16 percent).”
As the fastest growing population in the military, Hispanics make up about 16% of all active-duty military, according to the Department of Defense. Additionally, the National Association of American Veterans states that more Latinas are serving in the Army than Latino men, with Latinas making up 48 percent of the women in the U.S. military. Many of these women may become future entrepreneurs themselves, after their military career.
In an interview with Latina Style Magazine, Paulette Rivera, Senior Airman, Staff Select in the U.S. Air Force said, “Joining the military is a good stepping stone for any other career in the future and a place to find your voice and gain confidence.”
That confidence is a key trait for success. Women veterans looking to become business owners and entrepreneurs can leverage their military training and channel those traits into their future ventures. To encourage and support our women veteran entrepreneurs, below are some resources to help you grow and thrive.
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Resources for Women Veteran Business Owners
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.
SBA Boots to Business Program – Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by SBA as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). B2B provides participants with an overview of business ownership and is open to transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses.
Veterans Business Outreach Center Program – SBA’s VBOCs offer business plan workshops, concept assessments, training, counseling, and mentorship opportunities in your area. VBOCs can also help you navigate SBA’s extensive resource partner network and refer you to a community partner, lender, or SBA program. Find your nearest center.
Latinas in Business Editorial Intern Fe-Licitty Branch contributed to this article.