What are the strengths of veteran small business owners and what challenges do they face?

The State of Entrepreneurship Infographic

Vets have the skills needed to be successful business owners.

When asked “Which skills were most enhanced or strengthened by your military service?”

  • 80% said military service strengthened their teamwork abilities.
  • 79% said leadership and management skills.
  • 72% said work ethic and discipline.
  • 64% said perseverance.
  • 62% said their ability to get things done.

But their rate of self-employment has been declining.

In 1998, 16 percent of veterans were self-employed, and 12 percent of nonveterans were self-employed. But in 2018, 11 percent of both veterans and non-veterans were self-employed. This is a 33% drop for vets and a 9% drop for non-vets.

The biggest challenge is access to capital.

Veteran small business owners were more likely to apply for financial help, but less likely to receive it, when compared to non-veteran small business owners:

  • When applying for credit at a large bank:
    • 56% of veteran small business owners applied, and 53% were successful.
    • 47% of non-veteran owners applied, and 58% were successful.
  • When applying for credit at a large bank:
    • 52% of veteran small business owners applied, and 60% were successful.
    • 47% of non-veteran owners applied, and 70% were successful.
  • When applying for credit with an online lender:
    • 33% of veteran small business owners applied, and 70% were successful.
    • 23% of non-veteran owners applied, and 77% were successful.

Vets cite insufficient credit history and collateral as financial shortfalls.

  • Who cites insufficient credit history as a financial shortfall?
    • 47% of veteran small business owners
    • 36% of non-veteran owners
  • Who cites insufficient collateral?
    • 42% of veteran small business owners
    • 35% of non-veteran owners
  • Who cites cite weak business performance?
    • 20% of veteran small business owners
    • 23% of non-veteran owners

Education and mentoring prove helpful.

What resources have been helpful to you as an entrepreneur?

  • 41%: education
  • 39%: mentorship
  • 35%: business planning
  • 33%: networking
  • 31%: marketing
  • 31%: conferences and workshops

SCORE can help you overcome these business challenges in these ways:

Infographic designed by Easel.ly.

Infographic: Veteran-owned Small Business Trends