WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2021 -- Veteran-owned small businesses play a significant role in the U.S. economy, but face obstacles that have left them feeling unsupported, according to survey data from SCORE, the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors.
The Megaphone of Main Street: Unsung Entrepreneurs survey of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs nationwide found that 9.1% of U.S. small businesses are veteran-owned, generating $1 trillion in annual receipts and employing nearly six million Americans.
However, veterans reported a lack of support from federal (59.4%), state (76.9%), and local governments (78.5%) and their local communities (52.3%) during the COVID-19 pandemic. They applied for COVID relief funds at the same rate as non-veteran entrepreneurs, but these funding requests were denied 20%-100% more frequently than for non-veteran business owners.
“SCORE gives many thanks to our veterans for their service to our country, and their remarkable contribution to the nation’s economy as small business owners,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “We want veterans to know they are valued, seen, and heard -- which is why we created resources specifically for our veteran entrepreneurs in the wake of the challenges they’re experiencing.”
Supporting Veteran Small Businesses
SCORE is committed to ensuring veteran entrepreneurs have the knowledge and tools they need to be successful. SCORE’s Hub for Veteran Entrepreneurs includes:
Free, remote, expert business mentoring
Free business workshops,webinars, and educational resources
Access to veteran mentors who can help translate military skills into business success
Charlynda Scales, owner of Mutt’s Sauce and a U.S. Air Force veteran said while she doesn't come from a family of entrepreneurs, SCORE empowered her to pursue her dream of scaling up her business.
“Everything that SCORE offered was exactly what I needed to get the business started,” said Scales.
Scales then launched her business just four short months after working with SCORE, making the desired goal of growing her business across America a tangible reality.
SCORE values the many veterans who volunteer their time and industry expertise to help America’s small businesses succeed.
“As military veterans, we welcome the opportunity SCORE has offered to fulfill our sense of public service by mentoring small businesses,” said SCORE mentor and U.S. Air Force veteran Armando Ojeda Jr. “It is deeply gratifying to witness the positive impact a mentor can have on a small business owner in just one mentoring session.”
Since 1964, SCORE has helped 11 million entrepreneurs to start, grow or troubleshoot a business. SCORE's 10,000 volunteers provide free mentoring, workshops and educational services to 1,500+ communities nationwide, creating 45,027 new businesses and 74,535 non-owner jobs in 2020 alone. Follow @SCOREMentors on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Funded [in part] through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.