2.5 Million Small Businesses Are Owned by American Military Vets (Report)


U.S Veteran Owned Business Statistics

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently released an encouraging report on veteran-owned businesses. The report, which is based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Small Business Owners (released December 2015 and February 2016), shows about 2.52 million businesses in the U.S. majority-owned by veterans.

Almost all of these veteran-owned businesses at the time (99.9 percent) were small businesses.

U.S Veteran Owned Business Statistics

According to the SBA report entitled “Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners (PDF),” small business firms owned by veterans employed 5.03 million people, had an annual payroll of $195 billion and receipts of $1.14 trillion. The veteran-owned firms represented 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses.



California, Texas and Florida had the most veteran-owned businesses respectively, while the highest percent of veteran-owned businesses in their populations were found in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia. Other highlights from the study include:

  • Nearly 30 percent of all veteran-owned firms were in two industry groups: construction and the professional, scientific and technical services group.
  • The industry with the largest share of veteran-owned firms was finance and insurance (13.2 percent), followed by transportation and warehousing (12.1 percent), and construction (11.4 percent).
  • Five industry groups accounted for 71.5 percent of all veteran-owned firm sales: wholesale trade (22.9 percent), retail trade (19.5 percent), manufacturing (12.3 percent), construction (10.1 percent), and professional, scientific, and technical services (7.0 percent).

Also, a bigger percentage of veteran-owned businesses were home-based (57.0 percent) compared with other businesses (52.2 percent) in the rest of the population. And the most common method for veterans to become business owners was to start their own businesses themselves.

Support for U.S. Military Veterans Entrepreneurship

It’s encouraging to see military veterans take advantage of entrepreneurship opportunities available to them, and to continue to display many of the same qualities and resilience of civilian entrepreneurs.

If you are a military veteran who owns a small business or you know some vets, there are many sources of support for veterans, including the SBA’s “Boots to Business” Program. These resources offer varied resources from franchise opportunities to business loans that help combat unemployment among returning veterans, and also demonstrate appreciation to our veterans for their service.

“Entrepreneurship is a choice made by many of our men and women in uniform when they move into civilian life,” said Dr. Winslow Sargeant, former Chief Counsel for Advocacy for the SBA, in a previous statement about a similar SBA study. “Knowing more about the factors behind veterans’ self-employment offers opportunities to lay the groundwork for successful ventures.”

Memorial Day Photo via Shutterstock

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David William


David William David William is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers franchises, brick and mortar businesses, public policy and other small business issues. He is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.

One Reaction

  1. This statistic seems surprising when you first read it. But I guess it makes sense

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