This article was updated on November 11th, 2021.
As we celebrate Veterans Day, we wanted to look at the landscape of women veterans, mainly after they leave the military. Women veterans comprise the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population. According to the Veteran Association’s 2018 population model estimates, there are approximately 2 million women veterans, about 11 percent of the total veteran population; this number is only expected to increase.
A National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) report details that women veteran business owners account for 383,302 of this country’s 10 million women-owned firms. At first glance, this number might seem high, but when you start to think about the challenges women face in the field and the skill sets they gain in the military, it doesn’t seem surprising that women veterans take the entrepreneurship route after service.
Women in the military learn to become problem solvers and to have grit, which are two essential skills needed for running a business. However, starting a business after leaving the military is not always a choice. The most significant factor motivating women veterans to create their own companies has been high unemployment rates. But, finding a job after the military can be difficult for other reasons, such as lack of specific job training, industry certifications, fewer employment opportunities due to the pandemic, or simply the cultural differences between the military and civilian worlds. This then leads women to become “necessity entrepreneurs” to support themselves and their families.
Today, we want to honor all veterans, especially women veterans, who take on these challenges and make great strides in becoming entrepreneurs.
For more information, visit the National Women’s Business Council, a non-partisan federal advisory council to the President, Congress, and the Small Business Administration. If you know a woman veteran that is looking to start their own business and needs more information, please share the following resources: