Supporting veteran entrepreneurs

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month. It’s a great time to acknowledge the important economic impact veterans have in our communities when they take that great leap into business ownership. Almost 6 percent of U.S. businesses are owned by a military veteran and veteran-owned businesses employ around 4 million workers (2020 Annual Business Survey).

Military training is also business training

Chart of Sectors for Veteran Owned Businesses

From 2020 Annual Business Survey (census.gov)

You can find veteran-owned businesses in all sectors from construction and health care to retail and education. Veterans have found success in building their own businesses thanks in large part to the training they receive in their military service.

In his book 8 Lessons in Military Leadership for Entrepreneurs Robert Kiyosaki highlights these necessary skills for new business owners that are built up through military training:

  • Leadership – leaders are role models and true leaders earn the title by example and a willingness to sacrifice.
  • Discipline – entrepreneurs need discipline because they are often under immense pressure.
  • Respect – business owners know that everyone and everything deserves respect.
  • Mission and Team – entrepreneurs need to understand the importance of a core mission and the impact of a strong team.

Support for veteran-owned businesses

If you are a veteran and you own or are considering starting a business the following resources can help:

  • soldier at a computerThe U.S. Small Business Administration runs the Office of Veterans Business Development devoted to promoting veteran entrepreneurship.
  • VetBiz from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides training and verification for veteran-owned businesses. They also assist veterans with government contracting.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal designed to save you time finding resources to help you on your business journey.
  • Locally, the Topeka office of Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) from Wichita State University provides counselors to assist business owners with government contracting.
  • The local non-profit group IBSA, Inc. provides small business development assistance. IBSA is also building a database of local veteran-owned businesses to assist consumers in choosing to support local veteran entrepreneurs.

Veterans Entrepreneurship Celebration

On Thu, Nov 11, the library is partnering with neighboring libraries to offer a virtual Veterans Entrepreneurship Celebration. This will include a panel packed with veteran business owners led by VetBiz’s Mitch Fitzpatrick. After the panel we’ll use breakout sessions to explore key business issues like funding, marketing, branding and tax formation. Register for the Zoom link to participate, share your stories and ask questions.

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Debbie Stanton supervises the Information and Learning team in Public Services. She supports and mentors our staff in the Topeka Room, Baker Genealogy Center and Alice C. Sabatini Gallery along with the Business and Careers team, Community Connections team and reference staff.