This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

From Battlefield to the Business World -- Veterans Make It on Their Own

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- More than 1 million veterans are expected to transition out of military service by 2015, according to the International Franchise Association. And new research finds that the rate of entrepreneurism among returning military soldiers is falling.

According to the Kaufmann Foundation, until three years ago, U.S. veterans generally started companies at higher rates than non-veterans did. In 1996, veterans represented 12.3% of all new entrepreneurs. In contrast, veterans comprised just 6% of new entrepreneurs in 2011, according a report released last week by the research organization.

Kauffman attributes the declining numbers to several factors.

For one, there is an increasing amount of non-veterans who are becoming entrepreneurs as a result of the financial crisis, therefore skewing the numbers.

Additionally, large numbers of veterans are leaving the workforce for retirement. That means younger veterans have less support from "within their own community of veterans as they consider their own entrepreneurial ventures" and "fewer networking opportunities, mentors and funders among the older generations of vets," says Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

Yet a host of organizations, financial assistance websites and the government are looking to encourage more veterans to start a business.

Probably the best place for military vets to start for small-business assistance is with the Small Business Administration.

Through the SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development, veteran-owned small businesses can get financing help, business training and mentoring and assistance with federal procurement programs.

The agency is stepping up its efforts. This year, the SBA partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a national entrepreneurship training program. Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup was piloted with all four military branches in summer and fall 2012 and will be rolled out next year.

The SBA already partners with Syracuse University through its the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities program. Now in its fourth year, the program also provides training on how disabled vets can start and grow a small business.

Since 2009, the first year SBA partnered with Syracuse University, 434 service-disabled veterans have participated in the program. About seven other universities participate in the program.

In terms of capital access, the SBA has backed more than 3,200 loans worth $2.1 billion to support veteran-owned small businesses through its flagship 7(a) loan programs and 504 loan programs. That includes the SBA's Patriot Express loans, which offer one of SBA's fastest turnaround times for approvals on loans up to $500,000 to small businesses owned by veterans, reservists and their spouses.

Patriot Express loans can be used for most business purposes, including startup, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases, the SBA says.

Another helpful resource for veterans is SCORE's Veteran Fast Launch Initiative, which provides scholarships for veteran small-business owners to attend SCORE workshops and seminars. The initiative, launched in 2011 as part of the White House's Joining Forces campaign, SCORE, an offshoot of the SBA, provides mentoring to small business owners through 340 nationwide chapters and 12,000 volunteer mentors.

Franchising is a popular employment option for returning military soldiers because of its reliance on proven systems and procedures, which the military also relies on.

Through the International Franchise Association's VetFran program, franchise brands generally offer franchise fee reductions and other support for qualified military veterans.

The IFA stepped up promotion of its VetFran program last year through the government-endorsed campaign Operation Enduring Opportunity. Under the initiative, the franchise industry committed to hiring within existing franchises and recruit as franchise business owners 75,000 veterans and military spouses, plus 5,000 wounded warriors, by 2014.

More than 150 franchise brands across industries joined the IFA's VetFran program since the announcement of Operation Enduring Opportunity, bringing the total to 530 franchise brands that are now actively hiring and assisting military veterans to become franchise business owners.

Since 2011, 4,314 veterans have been able to open up franchises through the initiative, the IFA says.

"Successful franchises run on proven and structured systems, and members of the military are used to implementing systems, following procedures and striving for operational excellence, which leads to success in franchising," said IFA president Steve Caldeira.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,122.01 +15.31 0.09%
S&P 500 2,000.12 +0.10 0.00%
NASDAQ 4,569.6210 -1.0160 -0.02%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs