Soldiers Turn Entrepreneurs as One Million Exit Military
As more former service personnel turn to entrepreneurship, they’re generating jobs that are helping to cut the unemployment rate for veterans to a four-year low of 6.2 percent in April, lower than the 6.9 percent rate for adult non-veterans. The boost to the labor market matters: More than a million Americans are projected by the White House to transition out of the military through 2015.
One growing option is franchising. Veteran-owned franchise openings reported last year increased by 11,469 compared with 6,081 in 2010, according to the International Franchise Association, a Washington-based trade organization.
Veterans are “a good match” given the discipline required to manage a franchise, said Thompson, who was chairman until February of VetFran, a special program by the IFA to encourage entrepreneurship by veterans. “There are just so many skills that translate over.”
“Veterans do well in the franchising arena,” said Rhett Jeppson, associate administrator of SBA’s office of veterans business development and a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. “It’s a way to provide opportunities for them, especially if jobs aren’t available.”
Veterans own about 2.4 million businesses, or 9 percent of all U.S. businesses, employing 5.8 million workers, data from the SBA show. More former military personnel may consider starting a business, as hiring elsewhere remains uneven.