About 9% of businesses are majority-owned by veterans, amounting to about 2.52 million businesses. These include many different types of businesses, from franchises to tech start-ups to online companies to brick-and-mortar stores and more. Starting a business allows you to be your own boss, make your own hours, and determine how you want to run your company. If you are a veteran who wants to start a business, these entrepreneurship resources may be able to help.
7 Entrepreneurship Resources for Veterans Who Want to Start a Business
1. VetFran Network
Many veterans go on to start franchises after their service. Franchise opportunities allow you to run a business while leveraging the brand equity, technology and products of a larger business. The VetFran Network connects vets with over 600 franchise companies. They also provide educational resources, guides, financing resources and more. This is one of the best entrepreneurship resources for veterans who want to start their own franchise.
IHA has specific programs to help Veterans get started. To learn more about business opportunities, click here.
2. Small Business Administration Lender Match
Financing a business is one of the biggest challenges for any aspiring entrepreneur. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides many different types of loans for all sorts of businesses, including many loan opportunities for veterans. The Lender Match tool helps aspiring business owners find loans available to them.
3. Boots to Business
Boots to Business offers exceptional entrepreneurship resources for veterans who want to start a business. This program, offered by the Small Business Administration and Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), provides instruction on launching a business, developing business concepts, creating a business plan, and more.
4. Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Though women represent 50% of the population, their participation in the U.S. armed services has only been allowed for a relatively short time. Women are still underrepresented in all branches of the armed services, with the fewest in the Marine Corps (only 9% of enlisted service members are women) and the most in the Navy and Air Force (20% of each are women). This also means that most entrepreneurial resources and networks for veterans tend to be taught, organized by, and aimed at men. Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (VWISE) provides entrepreneurship resources specifically for women veterans seeking to start a business.
5. American Corporate Partners
In some cases, the best entrepreneurship resources for veterans who want to start a business are other business owners and experts. Connecting with a mentor can provide vets with guidance, advice and connections that are specific to an industry, technology or another situation. American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a non-profit organization connecting veterans with business mentors who have specific industry experience. Mentors typically help veterans navigate career opportunities, generate valuable connections, develop businesses, and more.
6. StreetShares Foundation
Some entrepreneurship resources for veterans who want to start a business provide education, funding, or mentorship. The best resources provide all three. The StreetShares Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on educating and mentoring veterans, and providing funding opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. Since it began in 2016 the StreetShares Foundation has mentored and assisted over 5,000 veteran entrepreneurs and built a network of more than 85,000 members and supporters.
7. Hivers and Strivers
Many veterans have unique ideas to solve complex challenges, and create start-ups around these goals. For a disruptive start-up to be successful, it often requires angel investment. Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group focused on funding veteran-owned companies. They not only provide investment, but also mentorship and guidance in the field. For the 16% of veteran business owners who start professional, scientific or technical service companies, Hivers and Strivers can be a valuable entrepreneurial resource for starting or growing an innovative business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program, local Veteran’s Affairs offices, as well as many universities offer classes, guides, tutorials, mentorship and more for veterans who want to start a business. Reach out to other business owners, experts and advisors near you to start planning your business and get it off the ground.