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.
Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans, according to the agency, and about 2.4 million or 9 percent of all U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, representing about $1 trillion in annual sales.
Many consider veterans to be the perfect entrepreneur. The Fire and Adjust website noted 10 reasons why veterans make good entrepreneurs: confidence, self-motivation, discipline, listening skills, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.
“Veterans possess some of the most important skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac. “Leadership experience and the ability to calculate risk, manage teams and take initiative are invaluable characteristics of successful business owners.”
The following are some tips to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed in business:
- Leverage military training
Through their years in service, veterans learned valuable skills relevant to running a business, including confidence, self motivation, discipline, listening, determination, leadership, risk management, stress management, teamwork and focus.
Veterans should make the most of their acquired skills and treat them as a competitive advantage. While these skills no longer mean making decisions that amount to the difference between life and death, they can be enlisted to keep a business alive and thriving.
- Set up a veteran-owned business
These days diversity programs extend beyond aiding minority- and women-owned programs. Programs within large corporations and government agencies assist veteran-owned and disabled-veteran-owned businesses. Veterans should seek out local, state and federal certifications that give priority to veteran-owned businesses.
- Check resources
- Seek out training
Running a business is not easy. Programs such as the one offered by Kauffman FastTrac or Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses can be beneficial. Veterans can also inquire about other training opportunities by contacting local community colleges, SCORE and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. Apart from accruing business-development advantages from actively networking, veterans can receive valuable mentoring from other former servicepeople. Such relationships can be beneficial for dealing with business matters and challenges arising from having been in active service.
“The Office of Veterans Business Development’s (OVBD) mission is to maximize the availability, applicability and usability of small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their dependents or survivors. OVBD is SBA’s liaison with the veterans business community; provides policy analysis and reporting; and is as an Ombudsman for veteran entrepreneurs. OVBD has a number of programs and services to assist aspiring and existing veteran entrepreneurs such as training, counseling and mentorship, and oversight of Federal procurement programs for Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.”
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Interesting facts about Women Veterans
- As the share of women in the military increases, so does the share of veterans who are women. The 2010 Current Population Survey estimates that there are just over 22 million veterans, almost 1.8 million of whom are women (8%); and among the estimated 2.2 million post-9/11 veterans, more than 400,000 (19%) are women.
- Today’s women veterans have served in every era dating back to World War II, when women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and other voluntary divisions served in positions other than nurses for the first time.
- Nationally, the number of women vets using Veterans Health Administration (VA) services has nearly doubled (PDF) in the past decade, and VA hospitals and clinics have scrambled to meet the needs of their new patients.
- The share of Hispanics among women and men in the armed forces is similar (13% vs. 12%, respectively), and the share of military women who are Hispanic is smaller than that of Hispanic women ages 18-44 in the U.S. civilian population (16%). But the number of Hispanics enlisting in the active-duty force each year has risen significantly over the last decade. In 2003, Hispanic women and men made up 11.5% of the new enlistees to the military; just seven years later, in 2010, they made up 16.9% of non-prior service enlisted accessions. (From Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile).
For additional information about the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal please visit https://www.va.gov/osdbu/entrepreneur/