The Department of Veterans Affairs projects that more than one million service members will leave the military between 2011 and 2016.
For many veterans, entrepreneurship proves to be the next logical step in their career path as the experience gained from the military provides a competitive edge for starting a business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), veterans are 45 percent more likely to start a business than those with no prior active duty experience. Further, veterans with service-connected disabilities often choose entrepreneurship due to physical limitations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, service-disabled veterans account for 8.3 percent of all veteran-owned businesses nationwide.
As of 2012, there were 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States. Florida ranked among the top three states with the highest number of veteran-owned businesses with 185,756, or 8.8 percent of all businesses in the state. By industry, professional, scientific and technical services had the largest share of veteran-owned businesses with 16.8 percent, followed by other services (except public administration); and construction.
Most military veterans leave the service with a wealth of technical expertise. However, business ownership still proves challenging for many veterans. Among the top obstacles facing veteran-owned businesses are lack of business experience and access to capital.
Luckily, a wealth of expertise is available to veterans interested in entrepreneurship. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs’ and Veterans Florida websites are great places for veterans to find more information about assistance and certifications available. Veterans also have access to research, tools, and professional consulting at no cost through the Florida SBDC Network, which operates more than 40 offices from Pensacola to Key West.
 Hope, J. B., Oh. B., & Mackin, P. C. (2011). Factors affecting entrepreneurship among veterans. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy.
 Survey of Business Owners, U.S. Census Bureau 2012