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Office of Veterans Business Development | Resources

By the Numbers: Supporting Veterans Success as Small Business Owners

Empowering Veterans through Entrepreneurship

  • U.S. military veterans own 2.4 million businesses, or nearly 1 in 10 of all businesses nationwide.  8.3 percent of veteran business owners have service-connected disabilities.

  • Veteran-owned businesses generate $1.2 trillion in receipts and employ nearly 5.8 million people.

  • In the private sector workforce, veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed. 

Expanding Access to Capital and Markets

  • In FY 2012, SBA supported nearly $2.1 billion in lending to over 2,800 veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs), including $118 million through the Patriot Express loan program. 

  • Federal prime contracting dollars awarded to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) increased for the fifth consecutive year to $11.2 billion or 2.65 percent of total contract spending in FY 2011.  This is up from $10.793 billion or 2.50 percent of total contract spending in FY 2010.

  • In FY 2011, the VA exceeded its contracting goals for SDVOSBs and VOSBs, awarding 18.2% of its total procurements to SDVOSBs and 20.3% to VOSBs.

Providing the Tools and Training to Succeed

  • Each year SBA provides more than 1 million entrepreneurs with free counseling and technical assistance through a network of more than 14,000 counselors.  Through Q3 FY 2012, SBA and its resource partner network counseled or trained over 150,000 veteran or service-disabled veteran small business owners.

  • The SBA provides grants to 15 organizations across the country to serve as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). 

  • As part of the Administration’s newly re-designed military transition program, Transition GPS, SBA has developed and is piloting a veterans entrepreneurship training program entitled, “Operation Boots to Business: from Service to Startup.” The President’s Budget provides $7 million to expand this program in 2013, providing exposure to entrepreneurship training to all 250,000 service members who transition from active duty to civilian life each year.

Breaking Down Barriers to Growth

  • In January 2012, the Administration launched an online effort called BusinessUSA to reduce the complexity of small business interactions with the Federal government.  The BusinessUSA website provides access to over 1,000 Federal and state resources including programs that provide financing, technical assistance and other services; over 130 success stories explaining how businesses and entrepreneurs have taken advantage of Federal resources to grow their businesses and enhance their success; and over 3,750 events nationwide.

  • In July 2012, the President directed Federal agencies to temporarily accelerate payment to all prime contractors so that they could accelerate payments to their small business subcontractors (from 30 to 15 days after receipt of proper documentation).

  • In August 2012, SBA announced “Quick App” for surety bonds under $250,000, a new streamlined application combines 2 applications into 1 to make it easier and faster for small businesses and contractors, including veteran-owned small businesses, to compete for contracts.

The Task Force’s full report is available here.