I’m excited to announce the release of a report by the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development called “Heroes on the Homefront: Supporting Veteran Success as Small Business Owners.” This is the second report of its kind where task force members from seven agencies have come together to collaborate on small business issues that are unique to Veteran business owners.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) believes that two of America’s greatest assets are the service of our returning veterans and the economic dynamism of our small businesses. It is no secret that entrepreneurs and small businesses are the engines of American innovation and economic prosperity. For example, our nation’s 28 million small firms employ 60 million Americans, or half of the private sector workforce, and they are responsible for creating 2 out of 3 net new private sector jobs across the country.
And, these numbers are even better when looking at Veteran Owned Small Businesses:
- U.S. military veterans own 2.4 million businesses, or nearly 1 in 10 of all businesses nationwide. 8.3 percent of veteran business owners have service-connected disabilities.
- Veteran-owned businesses generate $1.2 trillion in receipts and employ nearly 5.8 million people.
- In the private sector workforce, veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.
- Each year SBA provides more than 1 million entrepreneurs with free counseling and technical assistance through a network of more than 14,000 counselors. Through Q3 FY 2012, SBA and its resource partner network counseled or trained over 150,000 veteran or service-disabled veteran small business owners.
- The SBA provides grants to 15 organizations across the country to serve as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs).
The focus of this year’s report, the Task Force’s second, is to provide updates on the 18 recommendations that were made in last year’s report. The recommendations are organized around three priority areas for engaging the Federal government: (1) Increase Opportunities for Growth; (2) Improve and Expand Counseling and Training Services; and (3) Reduce Barriers to Growth and Improve Coordination and Efficiencies.
We are pleased to report great progress has been made since the Task Force’s initial review. In FY 2012, the Task Force, along with the interagency Veterans Employment Initiative developed and piloted a re-designed military transition program, entitled Transition GPS, that includes an entrepreneurship training program called “Operation Boots to Business: from Service to Startup.” This program is expected to be rolled out nationally in the coming year. The Task Force has also worked to streamline programs and cut paperwork for veteran small businesses through support for initiatives such as BusinessUSA and QuickApp for surety bonds and it has continued the efforts begun last year to make the process of winning Federal government contracts simpler and easier for service-disabled veterans and veteran-owned small business.
We know that our nation’s veterans helped reshape the American economy following World War II. They helped to build one of the longest periods of economic growth in our country’s history. And we know they can do it again if they are simply given the right tools and the right opportunities.
That’s why the SBA and the entire Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that these amazing men and women have the access and opportunity they need to fully realize their potential as entrepreneurs and small business owners.
These men have women have served our country so well. And as they begin this next chapter in their lives, we are prepared to be with them every step of the way.
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