By Debbie Gregory.

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Part 3 of 3



Learn what industries, job functions, business types, state concentrations are more likely to be filled with Veterans as well as some characteristics of the veterans   running these businesses.


Service & Disability Status:

  • About three-quarters of respondent owners had active duty service at some time (72.0 percent),
  • 9 percent reported post-9/11 active duty (September 2001 or later).
  • 3 percent reported having a service-connected disability, including 5.4 percent of employer owners and 7.9 percent of non-employer owners. During the 2012 survey year,
  • 3 percent of owners reported service in the National Guard or a Reserve component, and 0.8 percent reported active duty service during 2012.



Veteran business owners are much older than business owners in general.

  • In 2012, 74.0 percent of veteran business owners were age 55 and over (all owners: 41 percent); • 26.0 percent were age 55–64 (all owners: 25.4 percent); and
  • 0 percent were 65 or older (all owners: 15.6 percent). On the younger end of age distribution, 11.7 percent of veteran owners were under age 45 (all owners: 32.5 percent). And only 3.4 percent of veteran owners were under age 35, versus 13.5 percent of all owners.



  • In 2012, veteran owners were slightly less likely than all owners to have either a bachelor or post-graduate degree (45.2 percent of veteran owners compared with 47.1 of all owners).
  • Veteran owners were slightly more likely to have post-graduate degrees (21.4 percent compared with 19.8 percent for all owners).
  • A larger share had a high school diploma:
  • only 2.6 percent of veteran owners had not graduated from high school (all owners: 5.0 percent).
  • 4 percent had at least some college education.


Primary Function in Business:

  • Producing services and/or goods: 59.5 percent of veteran owners and 59.3 percent of all owners;
  • Managing day-to-day operations: 67.9 percent of veteran owners and 64.7 percent of all owners; and
  • Financial control and the authority to sign loans, leases and contracts: 55.0 percent of veteran owners and 50.5 percent of all owners.


Prior Business Experience:

More veteran owners reported previous experience than all owners, 42.4 percent compared with 35.7 percent, respectively. These percentages were very similar for both employers and non-employers.


Birth Citizenship:

Almost all veteran owners, 97.3 percent, were born U.S. citizens, compared with 85.6 percent of all owners. These percentages were very similar for both employers and non-employers.


Hours Worked in Business:

Hours worked in the firm were similar for veteran and all owners. Among veteran business owners, 36.1 percent reported that they worked 40 or more hours per week in their businesses (all owners: 37.5 percent). And 11.0 percent worked 60 or more hours per week in their firms (all owners: 10.6 percent).


Business Income as Primary Source of Income:

Owners reported that their business provided them with their primary income source: 47.5 percent all owners versus 40.7 percent of veteran owners. Among employer firm owners, these figures were 68.0 percent of all owners and 64.3 percent of veteran owners. Owners of non-employer firms reported somewhat lower reliance on their business income: 40.7 percent of all owners and 33.0 percent of veteran owners indicated that it was their primary source of personal income.


Start-Up Methods:

By far the largest method for entering business was for owners to found or start the firms themselves.

  • Among veteran owners of respondent firms, 85.3 percent founded their businesses (all owners: 83.1 percent).
  • Veteran employer owners reported that 74.3 percent started their own firms (all employer owners: 70.0 percent).
  • Veteran non-employer owners reported 89.0 percent started their own firms (all non-employers: 87.5 percent).
  • Veteran owners also reported that 10.8 percent purchased their businesses (all owners: 11.3 percent); 2.7 percent inherited them (all owners: 2.8 percent), and 2.8 percent acquired their ownership by transfer or as a gift (all owners: 4.4 percent). Year business was acquired. Interestingly, 7.4 percent of veteran owners indicated that their business ownership was newly acquired in the survey year of 2012, as did 10.4 percent of all owners.
  • Veteran owners reporting business acquisition in the four years before 2012 made up 16.2 percent of all owners of respondent veteran businesses (all owners: 21.1 percent).
  • From 2000 to 2007, 21.3 percent of veteran owners acquired their businesses (all owners: 23.4 percent).
  • As we look further back, the veteran owner shares increase relative to all owners: 14.8 percent of veteran ownership interests were acquired in the 1990s (all owners: 13.1 percent); 10.7 percent of veteran interests began in the 1980s (all owners: 6.8 percent); and 9.5 percent of veteran ownership interests were acquired before 1980 (all owners: 3.5 percent).


VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that you will join us.  We do not charge any dues or fees.  Here is a link: