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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Veterans Gung Ho on Becoming Entrepreneurs


If you spent some time in uniform serving Uncle Sam, all those days you sweated in boot camp may pay off when you put on your civies, a new study shows. You're nearly 50 percent more likely to become an entrepreneur than your civilian counterparts, and the odds are even higher if you wore the rank of an officer.

Military service is highly correlated with self-employment, according to a new study from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy . The study found that veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military service to become entrepreneurs.

And rank does have its privileges, as least when it comes to exercising your entrepreneurial genes. Officers are 55.6 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than enlisted personnel.  The study suggests that this is related to differences in educatio n; officers are more likely to have college educations. The differentials in education and entrepreneurship are similarly related in the civilian population.

The study, though, found no evidence that unique training or acculturation makes veterans more likely to be entrepreneurs . But the amount of time you spent in uniform did make a difference.

Compared with the whole population of veterans, those with three or four or fewer years of service are more likely to be self-employed, the study found.  At the other end of the spectrum, lifers who spent 20 or more years in uniform before retiring also had higher rates of self-employment than veterans as a whole.

"Entrepreneurship is a choice made by many of our men and women in uniform when they move into civilian life," said Winslow Sargeant, the SBA's chief counsel for advocacy. "Knowing more about the factors behind veterans' self-employment offers opportunities to lay the groundwork for successful ventures."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.



Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.