Veterans in the private sector are at least 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than those with no active-duty military experience, according to a recent Small Business Administration study. And with the current unemployment rate for young male veterans around 21 percent (more than double the national average), it's no wonder thousands of returning service members are looking to entrepreneurship as a way to transition back to civilian employment.
In fiscal 2011, SBA lending accounted for more than 4,300 loans to veterans, worth $1.5 billion in financing, nearly double the amount in fiscal 2009. The SBA also delivered its highest-ever percentage of federal contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses in 2010, totaling $10.4 billion.
"Around Veterans Day, our thoughts turn to the men and women who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to all who have made sacrifices and served our country in the armed forces," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a statement. "When you consider the leadership and management skills our veterans develop while on active and reserve duty, it's no wonder we see so many of them choose a path as entrepreneurs and small business owners."
Besides the SBA, there are five other major resources all veterans or veteran families should check out when starting a business.