Veterans escape economic uncertainty by starting their own businesses

Inflation, a chaotic stock market, and mounting reports of layoffs may have some military personnel concerned about their near-term economic future. Those still in the military but looking to transition soon might consider starting their own business to weather the financial storm.

Many Americans, veterans and non-veterans alike, have done just that over the past year. According to Gusto, the payroll company, 5.4 million new business births were recorded in the United States in 2021, the highest since the census began collecting business birth statistics in 2012. Among the millions led new veteran entrepreneurs.

The new report showed that 10.7% of all new business owners in America were veterans, citing a 100 percent increase in the number of veteran-owned businesses since last year’s census data was collected.

Gusto’s Survey of New Business Owners asked veterans why they chose to start their own business over pursuing other sources of income. Not surprisingly, 48% of respondents said they were worried about their financial situation. Other responses were based on some sort of economic necessity, such as layoffs and childcare costs.

Veterans are already a natural entrepreneurial subset of the US population. Previous studies have shown that veterinarians are 45% more likely to start their own business than their non-experienced peers.

The survey of new business owners found that this entrepreneurial spirit is emerging in the wake of the global pandemic, with a quarter of respondents saying their startup is taking advantage of a pandemic-related business opportunity.

There was also a variety of industries in which veterinarians started their new businesses. 47 percent of these companies either manufactured consumer goods or were involved in the construction, utilities, transportation and storage sectors. Another big area was the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, where 29% of experienced respondents started businesses.

(Courtesy of Gusto)

A lot of new businesses owned by veterans is good for the economy as a whole. Previous census data shows nearly four million Americans were employed by veteran-owned businesses, and Gusto’s new survey shows these new businesses are looking to hire even more, despite perceived financial conditions.

63% of veteran-owned businesses said they would be hiring more employees in 2022, and 71% said they would seek help in the coming year. While media headlines make things look bleak for some, particularly the tech sector, small businesses — especially those run by veterans — continue to drive economic growth across the country.

— Blake Stilwell can be reached at [email protected] He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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