Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Veterans Often Choose Entrepreneurship

Washington, D.C. – Military service is highly correlated with self-employment, according to an Office of Advocacy study, Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship among Veterans, released today. The study by John Hope, Brian Oh, and Patrick Mackin of SAG Corporation uses three data sources to explore how military service is related to veteran entrepreneurship. In the private sector workforce, the study found that veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed. 

The study also tested the hypothesis that military service imparts some unique training or acculturation that makes veterans more likely to be entrepreneurs, but found no evidence for such a correlation. 

“Entrepreneurship is a choice made by many of our men and women in uniform when they move into civilian life,” said Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant. “Knowing more about the factors behind veterans’ self-employment offers opportunities to lay the groundwork for successful ventures.” 

The relationship between veterans’ entrepreneurship and their previous length of military service is complex. Compared with the whole population of veterans, those with four or fewer years of service are more likely to be self-employed. This suggests that the involvement in entrepreneurship is related to a veteran’s individual characteristics rather than military training or culture. 

At the other end of the spectrum, career military retirees with 20 or more years of service had higher rates of self-employment, a finding that may be related to the relatively greater wealth of military retirees with longer careers. These veterans are also predominantly older, male, married, and possessing at least a high school education. Older military retirees are more likely to be self-employed—an additional year of age increases the probability of self-employment by about 7.5 percent. 

Officers are 55.6 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than enlisted personnel. The study suggests this is related to differences in education; officers are more likely to have college educations, and there are differentials in education and entrepreneurship that are similarly related in the general population. 

Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship among Veterans and the research summary may be found at 

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. The presidentially appointed Chief Counsel for Advocacy advances the views, concerns, and interests of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policymakers. Regional advocates and an office in Washington, D.C., support the Chief Counsel’s efforts. For more information, visit, or call (202) 205-6533. ### 

Kathryn J. Tobias

Senior Editor

U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy

409 3rd St. S.W., MC 3114

Washington, D.C. 20416

Phone: 202 205-6938

Fax: 202 205-6928


Filed under: Uncategorized

4 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    My name is Tim Sexton and I am the CEO and founder of Ekanova, LLC. I served four years as an active duty Marine and four years in the Army National Guard. I am also a Gulf War vet receiving 90 disability as a result of my service. My company is a very exciting and innovative company that sells iPad/Tablet Enclosures and develops web-based applications for businesses. You can visit my company’s website at I have invested time, energy, and money in this company and I am now looking for an angel investor or other entrepreneurs to join me in taking this company to the next level. I have the business structure in place with a team of independent contractors providing services ranging from IT programming, industrial design, graphic design, human resources, marketing, and sales. If you are interested in investing or learning more about my company, please contact Ekanova, LLC at I should also mention that Ekanova started another company called District 400 which is a web design studio. Please visit I hope to hear from another veteran that has as much passion as I do in taking our talents to the next level. Semper Fi!!

    • Tim – how are things going? Have you been able to attract Angels thus far? I talked to quite a few Veterans at the recent National Veterans Conference and will share your message when I follow up with them. All the best and continued success.

      • Tim Sexton says:

        We are attracting investors. Right now we have been going through a vetting process to ensure to our investors that we are worth the investment. At this point, I have a good feeling about the direction that my company is heading. The same day that I initiated the email that you read, I contacted SCORE and one of the advisers that they had us meet with was so impressed by my company that he immediately had us contact the people in town that had the ability to find us investors for capital and human capital. So, long story short, things are really getting exciting. Thanks for your interest and just because we have some movement, I would still be very interested in sharing my story with any others who may have interest.

        What do you do for a living? Just curious. Besides owning this company, I am also a college professor teaching psychology and sociology. The military paid off for me and I used all the benefits that it offered to get me where I am at today. I would be very interested in your story. Further, do you know the best route to take to get government contracts? Just curious.

        Again, thanks for your reply.

      • Tim – congratulations on all your successes thus far! I’m sure they will continue in the future. Glad to know that SCORE was able to help you out.

        A condensed version of my story is at “The about our editor, Major (Ret) Timothy Woods.” The entire blog is about Government Contracting and is designed to motivate and educate Veterans and Service-Disabled Veterans on contracting with the government.

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