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By Molly Klein • November 14, 2017

9 Top Industries for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Veterans are ideally and uniquely suited for entrepreneurial work. Their commitment to detail, respect for leadership, and problem-solving abilities are all powerful skills that result in regular success in small business.

Those attributes mean that veterans tend to be attracted to certain industries and jobs within those sectors. Here’s a closer look at the nine top industries for veteran entrepreneurs

  1. Professional, scientific and technical services (16.6 percent)
  2. Construction (13.2 percent)
  3. Real estate and leasing (8.6 percent)
  4. Retail (8.1 percent)
  5. Administrative and support services (8.0 percent)
  6. Health care and social assistance (6.9 percent)
  7. Transportation and warehousing (5.8 percent)
  8. Finance and insurance (4.9 percent)
  9. Arts, entertainment, and recreation (4.1 percent)

Differences from Other Small Businesse

When comparing veteran-owned industries to the broader small business population, some interesting trends emerge:

  • Veterans are more likely to own professional services businesses (16.6 percent) than the general population (14.1 percent). The same goes for transportation and warehousing, and finance and insurance.
  • Veterans own more than 10 percent of all companies nationwide in several industries, including:
    • Mining, quarrying, oil and gas (12.9 percent)
    • Finance and insurance (12.8 percent)
    • Transportation and warehousing (12.1 percent)
    • Construction (11.4 percent)
    • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (11.3 percent)
    • Utilities (10.9 percent)
    • Professional services (10.8 percent)
    • Manufacturing (10.2 percent)
  • Revenue generated by veteran-owned businesses in 2012 totaled $1.14 trillion, about 3.4 percent of all U.S. receipts.
  • Veteran-owned businesses have more than 5 percent of all receipts within an industry in the following sectors:
    • Construction (7.7 percent)
    • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (7.1 percent)
    • Real estate (5.7 percent)
    • Retail trade (5.2 percent)


Small business funding

Seeking Skilled Veterans

Recent articles in Forbes and Beyond.com note that veterans are in demand in several very specialized industries. Gaining post-military experience in these industries only broadens the experiences and skills for future small business owners. The following are industries (and companies) known for seeking veterans for skilled positions, based largely on the specialized skills and technical knowledge a military background provides:

  • Aerospace. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northup Grumman were among the top companies hiring veterans in 2016, looking to fill engineering and management positions.
  • Government Agencies. Defense and Veterans Affairs are two obvious federal agencies seeking the insights and experiences veterans provide. 
  • Information Technology. Many military roles require the knowledge and analytical skills that make them a good fit for IT roles as analysts, programmers, anti-cyberterrorism agents, and software developers. It certainly helps that veterans often get to work with the most advanced technology before it is available commercially.
  • Weapon Development. Veterans have experience with security and weaponry. Booz Allen Hamilton, a security and weapons development company, reported in 2014 that a third of its workforce were veterans.

Bringing Different Skills to the Table

LinkedIn studied the profiles of 1.1 million users who are veterans and found that there are some marked differences in the skills they possess. Here are the top 10 skills that veterans had at different rates than the broader LinkedIn user pool (unless otherwise noted, the skill set was found twice as often in veterans’ profiles):

  1. Detail orientation (3 times)
  2. Integrity (3 times)
  3. Team leadership (2.6 times)
  4. Problem solving and critical thinking (2.1 times)
  5. Dependability and team orientation 
  6. Business networking 
  7. Oral and written communications 
  8. Goal orientation 
  9. Adaptability 
  10. Report writing 

Fulfilling the Dream

Veterans have a proven track record of success in highly skilled work that delivers results. For those seeking their own entrepreneurial adventure, Benetrends is here to help with small business funding.

Benetrends created an innovative method that leverages existing retirement fund assets to help give small business owners a fast and easy way to access needed start-up funds. To learn more about how Benetrends can help make dreams a reality, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.