Younger Veteran Business Owners on Rise

While Veteran business owners on average are much older than non-veteran business owners that may be changing.

According to the Small Business Administration, of all Veteran business owners, those under the age of 35 increased from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 7.1 percent in 2012. Compare that to the same age demographic of non-Veteran business owners showing a decline- from 18.5 percent in 2007 to 16.3 percent in 2012.

This growth in Veteran-owned businesses may be attributed to Veterans’ ability to overcome obstacles in fast-paced environments — including the current tough economic climate. Many Veterans leaving military service see the lack of job options as another problem to tackle, and their solution is simple: they create a job for themselves.

The aim may be self-employment, but most Veterans don’t stop at making work for themselves. The SBA published a report in 2012 based on data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business which found that 53.4 percent of all Veteran-owned businesses employ 4 or less people, but overall they employ nearly 6 million people.  Veteran-owned businesses totaling 2.4 million accounted for 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses and generated more than $1 trillion in receipts in 2012.

On average, Veteran-owned businesses also outlast companies in similar industries.  In fact, 88.9 percent of businesses owned by Veterans are at least three years old, compared to 78.4 percent of their non-Veteran counterparts.   This statistic is not surprising at all to Jonathon Lunardi, co-founder of, an organization that aims to make Veteran hiring easy for small businesses.

Lunardi believes that Veteran-owned businesses have a longer lifespan due to their ability to handle stress.

“Veterans stick with their plans and don’t jump to the next best thing as often as civilians do,” he said. “In today’s volatile business world, consistent execution day in and day out can be a huge factor in success.”

That doesn’t mean that Veterans are waiting to start their businesses. A growing number of them are starting businesses while using the GI Bill or even during their reserve or active-duty service. These Veterans have an added level of financial stability that helps them validate their strategies and even finance start-up costs. – VA also provides entrepreneurship training under the GI Bill.

Veteran entrepreneurship is a great example of Veterans helping themselves and their communities. As more Veterans transition from the military, it is likely that a number of young Veterans will continue to establish themselves in the business world.

As these Veterans find ways to serve you again, consider supporting them too – but this time from a customer’s perspective.


Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.


  1. VetsForward    

    Great article. Lots of Americans would prefer to support vet businesses, but they aren’t always easy to find. One thing every vet businesses owners should do is register at to highlight their listings on Google, Yelp & Facebook.

  2. Reggie Dunbar ll    

    The unity of older and younger business veterans is needed.
    GADVBE provides such support and efforts.

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