There are more than two million veteran-owned small businesses in the U.S. today with receipts of more than $1.14 trillion.
It’s obvious these business owners continue to contribute to the country, long after their service to it is over.
What veteran-owned businesses are thriving today?
Best Business Categories for Veterans
A study by the Small Business Administration shows that veterans seem to excel in these six top industries:
- Administration and support services
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Real estate
- Retail trade
- Other services
The highest percentage of these businesses exist in the professional, scientific, and technical services fields. While the majority (just over 84 percent) are owned by men, more than 15 percent are owned by women vets.
The data shows that many of these companies are smaller; more than half of veteran firms have annual sales of less than $25,000. The data also shows that 80 percent of these companies have only one to 19 employees and 57 percent say they are a home-based business.
Despite these statistics, when veterans hit it big with a company, they go all the way. You might be surprised by some of the companies out there that are owned by U.S. veterans. Veterans United reports on 10 that are wildly successful.
- FedEx, the shipping company, was founded by a four-year Marine veteran, Frederick Smith. Today the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITA) are $2.56 billion.
- GoDaddy, a technology site offering domain and website hosting as well as other online software tools, applications, and services, is now worth about $0.412 billion. It was founded by a former Marine and Vietnam vet, Bob Parson.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car was founded in 1957 by Jack Taylor, a decorated Navy pilot from WWII. Today it has more than 8,000 locations.
- Nike, the mammoth shoe seller, worth over $4.499 billion, was co-founded by Phil Knight, who served a year in the Army and seven in the Army Reserves.
- RE/MAX, a company that sells commercial and residential real estate, was founded by Vietnam War veteran Dave Liniger and his wife. Their current EBITA is around $15 million.
- Universal Health Services is one of the nation’s most trusted healthcare providers and is worth more than $1.624 billion today. It was founded by Alan B. Miller, who served in the Army ROTC while attending college and upon graduation was commissioned as a Captain.
- Sports Clips, the hair care franchise, has more than 1,800 locations around the U.S. It was founded by Gordon Logan, who went to MIT and served in the Air Force.
- Walmart is America’s superstore, and worth more than $34 billion. It was founded by Sam and Bud Walton who served in the Armed Forces – Sam in the Army and Bud in the Navy.
More and more veterans are starting their own businesses. Forbes calls it “vetrepreneurship,” and says it’s a movement sweeping the country. Some of the veteran-owned companies Forbes mentioned include:
- Plated.com was founded in 2012 by Nick Taranto, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry. The company has more than 700 employees and uses technology in its food delivery service that delivers everything you need to cook a delicious meal in about 30 minutes.
- RallyPoint.com was also founded in 2012 by three former Army officers and offers former military members a place to get together and talk issues important to veterans.
- Unite US uses technology to connect those in need with a variety of healthcare and social services. Care coordination is a big issue in healthcare today, and, like the business concept, brought together veterans from the Air Force and Army in the formation of this business.
- The Black Rifle Coffee company in Salt Lake City, Utah was founded by an Army Special Forces veteran named Evan Hafer. The business was founded in 2014.
- Pigeon.ly allows people to find and communicate with their incarcerated loved ones, allowing them to send greeting cards, photos, and communications right from their favorite digital device. The company was founded by an Air Force veteran.
- In San Francisco, Rhumbix is a data collection provider that replaces the foreman’s notepad with a smartphone app. It was founded by veterans from the U.S. Navy.
- JDog is a small junk removal, hauling, and cleaning company in Pennsylvania. The company was founded by Army vet Jerry Flanagan.
- Hirepurpose is on a higher mission to connect veterans and their families with jobs in NYC. The company was founded by Zachary Iscol, a U.S. Marine.
- ArxPax is a Silicon Valley tech company that founded some unique products used in engines. The company was started by Army Infantry veteran Greg “Hendo” Henderson.
- BottleBreacher.com in Tucson, Arizona, puts active duty service members and veterans to work building 50-caliber handcrafted bottle openers. It was founded by Eli Crane, a former U.S. Navy Seal.
- Elemental Path, founded by Marine veteran Donald Coolidge, is the creator of CogniToys, Wi-Fi-enabled smart toys.
- Combat Flip Flops delivers fashion and lifestyle products from some of the toughest places on the planet to an American audience. Founded by two U.S. Army Rangers, the company gives back to charities as much as it takes in.
- Ampsy is a social media analytics company based in Arizona. It was founded by Jeremy Gocke, an army veteran.
- The PenFed Foundation focuses on making sure veterans have a secure financial future. It was founded by a retired United States Four-Star General.
What made these veterans so successful? At some point, they all had access to small business lending resources to help fuel their new companies.
Small Business Lending for Veteran Entrepreneurs
The facts are in; veteran-owned businesses make a big contribution, hiring more than 5.8 million Americans every year and contributing more than a trillion to the national economy.
At Benetrends Financial, we understand the importance of helping veteran entrepreneurs realize their dreams of business ownership. We’ve been working with veterans on small business funding for decades, specializing in small business lending strategies that pay off big in business.
If you are a veteran looking to launch a business, let us help you with your funding. You can turn your Thrift Saving Plan or Blended Retirement System without incurring upfront taxes or early withdrawal penalties. To learn more, schedule a consultation.