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Do military skills lead to veteran entrepreneurship?

NEW YORK — Veteran entrepreneurship remains strong. A review of the literature shows that veterans are more likely to own their own business than those with no active-duty military experience and recent numbers show an increase women and minority veterans entering into entrepreneurship.

An examination of research on veteran business owners has been released by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. The assessment, covers a wide-range of areas connected to self-employed veterans, highlights gaps in existing literature and key traits that may contribute to veteran entrepreneurship, and calls for further research in the areas of self-employed women veterans and minority veterans.

The research shows a correlation between characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and veterans. Factors contributing to high-achieving entrepreneurs include good decision-making in constantly changing environments, confidence and the ability to be autonomous. These attributes, as shown in the literature, are often found in service members and veterans.

The literature further supports this symbiotic relationship by suggesting that military training can instill an interest in entrepreneurship by equipping active-duty service members with necessary skills to be effective leaders and communicators. Additionally, the review presents an interesting connection between time served in the military and veteran self-employment, showing that veterans who have served for 20 or more years are more likely to be self-employed.

However, becoming an entrepreneur requires more than just an idea, people need to be able to access capital and information and other necessary resources. Thus, challenges to starting or sustaining a business are also addressed in the literature, including resources available to veterans, including government loans and corporate support.

Lastly, the review highlights key gaps and next steps, together with a call for further exploration of employment initiatives along with socioeconomic factors that influence veteran entrepreneurship. The complete transcript of the literature review, along with information about the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, at Syracuse University, can be found on the IVMF website, at ivmf.syracuse.edu.

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