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


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The Revolution; the Veteran-Owned Business Movement

“Don’t you know | talkin’ bout a Revolution | sounds like a whisper | don’t you know | talkin’ bout a Revolution | sounds like a whisper” that line is from a Tracy Chapman song I was just listening to.  The title of the song is “Talkin Bout A Revolution.” The song goes on to talk about standing in the welfare line | cryin at the doorstep of those Armies of Salvation | wastin time in the unemployment line | sittin around waiting for a promotion | don’t you know | talkin’ bout a Revolution | finally the tables are starting to turn | talkin’ bout a Revolution.  

That song reminded me that we are in the middle of our own Revolution and yes, finally the tables are startin to turn.  The Veteran-Owned Business Movement is a Revolution, it is OUR Revolution!  The tables are starting to turn in that more states are coming on board and embracing Veteran contracting goals.  More corporate giants are pushing and enforcing Veteran contracting goals within their organizations.  

I am pleased to report that more and more of us are participating in The Revolution.  More Veteran business owners are identifying themselves as such.  We are building successful businesses and create jobs that will take our brothers and sisters out of those welfare and unemployment lines.  There are also many VOSB success stories and they are growing daily.  

There are also countless stories of young troops needing welfare to supplement their income, just to survive and care for their families.  There are even more stories of young people forced to live in substandard housing because they couldn’t afford anything else.  Unemployment is high, we all know that, but it is highest among Veterans.  Homelessness is highest among Veterans.  How can this happen in the riches and most powerful country in the history of the world?  What part will you play in solving these problems?   

To get a full history of the Veteran-Owend Business Movement, visit

See you on the high ground!


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