Thursday, December 14, 2017

Access to Capital is Greatest Barrier for Veterans with Dreams of Business Ownership

FromInstitute for Veterans and Military Families

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Nov. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- If home ownership is one quintessential American dream, owning your own business is another. While a higher percentage of veterans are self-employed compared to non-veterans, the rate of veteran entrepreneurship has seen a significant decline. Forty-nine percent of veterans returning from service in World War II started businesses. Today the rate of post 9-11 veterans doing the same has fallen to 5.6 percent (from 12.3 percent in 1996).

The question now becomes why are we losing a potential class of business owners who come out of the military well equipped with important skills and attributes for success as entrepreneurs? A new study of veteran business owners, conducted by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) in collaboration with Bunker Labs, takes an in-depth look into factors that account for the motivation, success, failure or survival in veteran entrepreneurship. The report, Bridging the Gap, Motivations, Challenges, and Successes of Veteran Entrepreneurs, sees veteran business owners cite difficulty accessing capital as one of three core impediments to starting or expanding their businesses. Limited or no opportunities to network and difficulty developing mentorships were the other top blockers.

The continued loss of veteran-owned businesses that lack cash or financing will have an impact on our economy as veteran-owned businesses employ over 5 million U.S. workers and cover a payroll nearing $200 billion. This number could continue to go down as would the incomes for households of veteran entrepreneurs who have higher incomes and greater wealth.

“We cannot continue to watch as veterans become a smaller and smaller part of the U.S. entrepreneurial population,” says Dr. Mike Haynie, IVMF Executive Director and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation at Syracuse University. “Veterans and entrepreneurship are a natural fit given their ability to take risks, be determined, think on their feet and survive challenges. We must continue to encourage them to pursue this path, and support them every step of the way.”

“We know the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ when it comes to veteran entrepreneurship—but we’ve never looked at the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, and this study does just that,” says Misty Stutsman, IVMF Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business. 

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