The number of firms owned by women veterans grew nearly 300 percent in a five-year period—and Georgia ranks among the top states for women “vetrepreneurs”.
This month, America celebrates current and former military service members during Veterans Day. There are plenty of veterans who leave service and go on to own their own businesses: in fact, there are 2.52 million businesses in the US that are majority-owned by veterans, according to the US Small Business Administration.
Many veterans face biases when they leave the military to pursue jobs in the civilian corporate world. Civilians often don’t understand how military skills, terminology, and roles translate into marketable skills for their own firms. Other employers are reluctant to hire vets, concerned about future deployments and missed work. And, many civilians stereotype military service members as being tough, rigid, formal, or angry—and assume vets won’t fit their company’s culture.
But military service gives people valuable skills that translate well in the corporate world as well as entrepreneurship, according to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families: teamwork, confidence, independence, the ability to make good decisions in high-stress environments, and high self-efficacy are all skills shared by high performing founders.
The impact of vet-owned businesses show just how well military skills translate to the corporate world. Vet-owned businesses generate $1.14 trillion in annual revenues and employ 5.5 million people. Georgia ranks 6th on the list of states with the most veteran-owned businesses: There are nearly 97,000 firms that contribute over $35.7 billion to the state’s economy. And veteran-owned companies out-earn civilian entrepreneurs.
Phyllis Newhouse is a veteran and CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc., a Georgia based company that consistently ranks among the 50 fastest growing woman-owned businesses in the United States. Her company has employees in 42 states, and 40 percent have a military background. EY named Newhouse their 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year. Join us for our Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebration on Friday, November 30—Newhouse will be our guest speaker! Register here.
Veteran Women EntrepreneursJust like their civilian counterparts, women veterans are driving small business growth. In fact, veteran women are outpacing their non-veteran counterparts in terms of launching new businesses. Women veterans own 15.2 percent of all vet-owned businesses, and the number of veteran women-owned businesses increased by 296 percent between 2007 and 2017. Veteran women-owned businesses generate nearly $20 billion annually.
When it comes to education, women vets tend to have higher levels of college enrollment and higher levels of educational attainment than male veterans. And, veteran women who own businesses also tend to be better educated than their civilian counterparts.
Despite their competence, women vet entrepreneurs face challenges in getting funds to start businesses and having access to mentors and networks of people, including other entrepreneurs, prospects, and partners. People who are coming to a new community after military assignments in other places haven’t been able to establish the networks they need to succeed as entrepreneurs. And, like most small businesses, these entrepreneurs struggle in transitioning from being solo operations to hiring employees. Until businesses cross that mark, they also struggle to grow revenues.
Resources for Vetrepreneurs
Vets can get help starting businesses from federal and local government resources, such as the SBA’s Boots to Business program and local SCORE chapters. Launchpad2X is proud to support women veterans—founder Bernie Dixon is a veteran of the US Army. Launchpad2X offers discounts for the Core Program and Annual Membership. Contact us for more information.