Veterans Continue to Serve as Small Business Owners

Nov 3, 2021

National Veterans Small Business week is the first full week in November, and veterans are nationally celebrated on November 11, but here at Lendistry, veterans get our attention all year. 

When their service is complete, veterans often decide business ownership is best for them. While veterans make up only 7.3% of the U.S. population, they make up 9.1% of small business owners. According to the Small Business Administration, 2.5M businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans. 

Considering small businesses create more new jobs every year than national chains do, this can and should be viewed as another form of service veterans give to their country. Those who have served and those who haven’t can find veteran-owned businesses to support in their area on the Veteran Owned Business Directory

Why Do Veterans Make Great Entrepreneurs?

In the course of their service, veterans absorb skills that make them ideal entrepreneurs: integrity, mission-focus, fortitude, and structure. Military careers come with a built-in progression, and ranks and career fields come with clearly-defined expectations. Rules of conduct, values, pay rates, and potential for promotion are all standardized and leave little need guess work. 

Compared to a military job, even the most structured civilian business environment feels ambiguous. This can make fitting into a company culture and navigating its hierarchy difficult for a veteran, which also makes them more likely to launch a start-up of their own.

Learn how Lendistry helped Sidney Long achieve his dream in our customer stories.

“They didn’t treat me like an account number. They treated me like a human being, they respected me being a veteran and respected me being a federal law enforcement agent.” — Sidney Long, Camp-Run-A-Mutt

What Counts as Veteran-Owned?

Any small business that is at least 51% owned by a veteran, has a veteran as its highest-ranking officer, and can show that one or more veterans control the day-to-day operations and decisions qualifies as veteran-owned. There is also a separate distinction for a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) for business owners who have a service-connected disability documented on their DD214. 

That may sound like a lot of nonsense words, but to a veteran, acronyms are a second language. 

Why Certify a Veteran-Owned Business?

Veterans deserve all of our support. The VA and the SBA provide resources for veterans who start their own businesses, and consumers can seek out veteran-owned businesses for everything from services to shopping. 

But before a veteran entrepreneur can receive any of those resources, it must be certified as a veteran-owned business. 

A Veteran-Owned Certification gives the business leverage when bidding for contracts from the government and major companies. Certification helps everyday consumers who are looking to support veterans find the business. It also makes the business eligible for the VA and SBA resources linked above. 

How to Get Certified as a Veteran-Owned Business

There are two different certifications available. A veteran business owner can self-certify by registering with System for Award Management (SAM). This type of registration is required for businesses to do federal contracting, receive SBA benefits for disabled veterans, and for nonprofits to receive grants. 

To be eligible for the VA’s Vets First policy, which prioritizes veteran-owned businesses for VA locations and projects, the veteran entrepreneurs must go through the VA Vets First Verification to be considered a Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE).

Veterans who want to learn more about becoming a business owner should check out the Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program. This program provides training for veterans who want to transition into the business world and become entrepreneurs. Thank you, veterans, for your service and your continued support of your local communities as employers and business leaders!