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By Molly Klein • November 18, 2017

Veteran-Owned Business by the Numbers

Veteran-owned businesses continue to be a vital component of the U.S. economy. A closer look at veteran-owned business by the numbers shows some interesting details about the types of businesses veterans are starting, where they are located and what is driving growth.

A recent study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy released in April 2017 shows the impact of veteran-owned businesses. The data are based on a 2012 survey of business owners done by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Veterans’ Role in U.S. Economy

Veterans are majority owners of 2.5 million businesses, representing 9.1 percent of all U.S. companies, with annual receipts of $1.1 trillion. Those companies employ 5 million people with an annual payroll of $195 billion. Among veteran respondents, 7.3 percent had service-related disabilities.

Among the 440,000 veteran-owned companies with employees, 78.6 percent had annual sales of $100,000 or more, with 37.6 percent having sales of $500,000 annually. Most employer firms were small, with 54.5 percent of companies with 1-4 employees, 71.3 percent with 1-9 employees and 80.6 percent with 1-19 employees. 

A Look at Demographics

Men make up the majority of veteran-owned businesses (84.3 percent), with women comprising 15.2 percent of businesses. Ownership by ethnicity and race is as follows:

  • African American (10.7 percent)
  • Hispanic (7 percent)
  • Asian American (2.1 percent)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (1.3 percent)
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (0.3 percent)
  • White (85.1 percent)
  • Other (2.2 percent)

When it comes to geography, it is not surprising that the most-populous states are also those with the most veteran-owned businesses and revenue. The top 10 are:

  1. California (252,000 companies, $135.1 billion in sales)
  2. Texas (214,000, $109.9 billion)
  3. Florida (186,000, $57.7 billion)
  4. New York (137,000, $55.8 billion)
  5. Pennsylvania (98,000, $50.3 billion)
  6. Georgia (97,000, $35.7 billion)
  7. Ohio (91,000, $37.2 billion)
  8. Illinois (89,000, $45.4 billion)
  9. North Carolina (87,000, $36.9 billion)
  10. Virginia (76,000, $34.1 billion)

Small business funding

Franchise Options for Veterans

More than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses (representing 2.1 percent of all veteran-owned companies) are franchises. Franchise ownership among veterans is particularly popular in these top five industries:

  • Retail trade
  • Accommodations and food services
  • Real estate, rentals, and leasing
  • Finance and insurance
  • Administration, support, and waste management

Support for Veteran Entrepreneurs

With so many veterans choosing to own their own businesses, it is no surprise that there are many support services available to help veterans navigate the complexities associated with starting their own company. Here are a few top resources that are helping drive success for veterans:

  • American Corporate Partners. This non-profit agency helps veterans find new careers and offers career coaches and mentors from corporate sponsors.
  • Boots to Business. This SBA-backed initiative helps vets via training courses on entrepreneurship.
  • BusinessUSA. This interactive tool gives veterans access to local, state and federal resources for business.
  • National Veteran Small Business Coalition. This non-profit organization advocates for vet-owned businesses and provides members with training, business intelligence, and networking resources.
  • National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Founded by three Navy vets, this organization acts as a watchdog agency for veteran-owned businesses and offers members access to resources and news.
  • Procurement. Programs by the SBA and Department of Veterans Affairs help veteran-owned businesses gain a leg up in accessing government agency business opportunities.
  • Veteran Business Outreach Centers. Another SBA service, these centers located across the nation help with training, counseling, and mentoring for vets, spouses,and active service members.
  • Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. This Veterans Affairs tool connects vets to tools, advice, and financing assistance.
  • Veterans Fast Launch Initiative. Run by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), this program provides software, services, and mentoring for vets looking to start a business. 

With so many business opportunities available to veterans, it is important to explore all your funding alternatives. At Benetrends, we have worked closely with veterans for decades to make their business ownership dreams a reality.

In addition to helping veterans access available funding opportunities, Benetrends has partnered with business services, from insurance to credit card processing. To learn more about how Benetrends can help your ideas become reality, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.

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