As we celebrate Veterans Day tomorrow, we wanted to take a look at the landscape of women veterans in particular after they leave the military. Women veterans comprise the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. According to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), their latest report estimated that as of 2016, there were approximately 2.1 million women veterans, which is 9.6 percent of the total veteran population; this number is only expected to increase.
The report shows that women veteran business owners account for 383,302 of the 10 million women-owned firms in this country. 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 great skills to have for running a business. However starting a business after the military is not always a choice, the biggest factor motivating women veterans to start their own companies has been high unemployment rates. Finding a job after the military can be difficult for other reasons too; lack of specific job training, industry certifications or simply the culture differences between the military and civilian worlds. This then leads women to become “necessity entrepreneurs” as a means to support themselves and their families.
Today we want to honor all veterans but especially women veterans who are making 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 SBA. If you know a woman veteran that is looking to start her own business and needs more information, please share the following resources: