Not only do military members provide an invaluable service to our country, many also contribute significantly to our economy after their service as veteran business owners.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 2.5 million businesses in the United States that are majority owned by veterans — that’s nearly one in 10 small businesses overall. Veterans are also 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than nonveterans.

The impact of veteran entrepreneurs on our economy is considerable:

  • Veteran-owned small businesses generate more than $1 trillion in revenue.
  • Veteran-owned businesses employ more than 5 million people with an annual payroll of $195 billion.
  • The industries with the largest share of veteran-owned businesses are finance, insurance, transportation, warehousing and construction.

Here in Texas, we are very fortunate to have the second-highest number of veteran-owned businesses in the country (California having the most).

This is likely due to our state’s exceptional climate for business growth — it was just ranked No. 1 on CNBC’s 2018 America’s Top States for Business list — and the many resources available to veteran-owned businesses.

If you are a veteran and have an existing business or would like to start a business in Texas, the Texas Veterans Commission’s Veteran Entrepreneur Program provides training, education and connections to help veterans navigate through the processes of planning, launching and growing a business. Their experienced advisers include veterans, business owners and MBA graduates.

Since 2007, growth among veteran woman-owned businesses has increased an astounding 295 percent. However, there still are substantially more veteran men (84 percent) than veteran women (15 percent) owning businesses.

The Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center in Dallas assists veteran women business owners by offering access to work spaces, business equipment, on-site mentors and coaches, funding options and networking opportunities, as well as business advancement programs tailored specifically to women veterans.

Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business also can provide services and resources to veteran women business owners, including access to resources for business creation and ownership, engagement and mentorship with current business owners and entrepreneurial leadership educational opportunities.

The center also offers various workshops and one-on-one business counseling for those in the Denton area interested in starting or expanding a business.

In addition, the center offers the Women’s Enterprise Training and Micro Grant Program, which is intended to encourage woman-owned businesses in Texas to undertake new and innovative projects. Another round of funding of $5,000 apiece will be announced this fall.

The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development provides specialized programs for veteran-owned businesses including Boots to Business, an entrepreneurial education and training program. The program includes steps for evaluating business concepts, the foundational knowledge required to develop a business plan, and information on SBA resources to help access startup capital and technical assistance.

Small business ownership provides countless opportunities for those transitioning from the military to use their skills and experiences to make valuable contributions to our economy, communities and quality of life.

So let’s be sure to thank and patronize our local veteran-owned businesses whenever possible.

Shannon Mantaro is the director of Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business and can be reached at smantaro@twu.edu. For more information regarding the Center for Women in Business, visit https://twu.edu/cwb.

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