It’s no secret that veterans have a harder time finding employment than the average civilian. Veteran’s unemployment rate is always higher than the national rate; however one fact that is interesting is that military veterans are almost twice as likely versus nonveterans to start their businesses. Despite veterans’ difficulty in gaining employment, they have a higher disposition towards entrepreneurship and carving their path.
One way to encourage former armed service personnel to start their own business is to inform them of the Small Business Administration’s programs developed to help veterans obtain loans. Veterans are exempt from borrower fees for a loan value up to $350,000.00 and for a loan of $350,000 to $5 million, the agency promises to pay half of the borrower fee if default should occur. Because of this, in 2014, the Office of Veterans Business Development was able to grant $768 million in lending for veterans looking to start their businesses.
As of 2014, there are more than 2.4 million businesses operated by veterans nationwide. This trend is growing, and to keep it headed in the right direction funding is going to be extremely necessary. Veterans should not only be encouraged to start their businesses but also be provided options regarding how to fund their operations. If unable to obtain a loan from the SBA, veterans can look into angel investment groups that support veteran entrepreneurship, venture capital funds that do the same, or online lending platforms. All of these can serve as a means to get the startup capital required for a veteran to start their business.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also has a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. This agency is a partnership with Business USA which allows veterans to access various resources, start and grow their businesses and access financing.
With the lack of demand for veterans in the workplace due to employer concerns with PTSD or other health issues, veterans are going to have to start creating their fate more regularly. Entrepreneurship should be encouraged while service men and women are active in the military and even prior to boot camp. Planting the thought in a veteran’s mind that starting a business may be a good idea once they are done with service should be something that the United States Military embraces and promotes.
Statistically, veterans are going to have a more difficult time finding regular employment than an average citizen, and it would be best to disclose these hurdles upfront to set realistic expectations for our former military. This education would allow them to mentally prepare for the task ahead and would also persuade them to start looking into other options, such as entrepreneurship.
If the goal is to get more veterans to start businesses, this behavior needs to be promoted from the very beginning of that individual’s life in the military. Business education needs to be incorporated into military training and programs designed to help veteran entrepreneurs need to be more heavily promoted once a member of our armed forces has completed their service.