I was in grade school during the Vietnam War. One of my classmates, Danny, had an older brother who had been drafted and was serving in combat. One day Danny was called out of class to the principal’s office. A few minutes later he returned briefly to the classroom, tears streaming down his face, to collect his books. He had just learned that his brother would not be coming home.

It was then, at an early age, that I learned about the sacrifice that is required of our men and women in uniform. Since then I have always been impressed by the heroism and selflessness of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, always willing to stand in the face of danger to protect our country.

As I ventured on my own career path in finance, I can’t count how many times I’ve been impressed by veterans – now entrepreneurs running businesses. When your perspective and world view includes having to think clearly in life-threatening situations, it seems to translate into a competitive advantage in business, as well.

Our Veteran-Owned Businesses

Although I was aware that veteran-run businesses were making a big impact in our economy, I was recently surprised to see the data representing the magnitude of their contributions and the recent trends. The most recent Survey of Business Owners conducted by the U.S. Census, shows:

  • More than 2.5 million U.S. business are majority-owned by veterans
  • In the span between 2007 and 2012, the number of female veteran-owned firms quadrupled from 4 percent of all veteran-owned firms to 15.2 percent
  • Veteran-owned business represent more than 9 percent of all U.S. firms
  • Veteran-owned firms had receipts of $1.14 trillion and employed 5.03 million people, with a collective annual payroll of $195 billion

Veteran-Owned Business Funding

While the Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated funding and entrepreneurship programs for veterans in business, there is definitely a need for additional funding above and beyond the capacity of the SBA. Census data show that a majority of veterans starting or acquiring businesses (59.4%) used personal or family savings. Business loans from banks or other commercial lenders were used by 7.8 percent of veteran-owned firms, while 7.5 percent of all veteran-owned firms were funded with personal credit cards.

Clearly, there’s an opportunity to help veteran-owned businesses sustain and grow their firms, which is why I’m so excited about our recent partnership with The National Veterans Opportunity Coalition (TNVOC). At First Business Growth Funding, we convert accounts receivable into cash. So if you have customers who take 30, 60, 90, or even 120 days to pay their invoices owed to you, we can help you get that money a lot faster.

Through our partnership with TNVOC, we’ll be offering an upcoming series of informational webinars about business financing opportunities. Our goal is to help veterans learn about financing alternatives, and how to position their businesses for growth. Learn more about our alternative financing options for veteran-owned businesses, like accounts receivable financing, and stay tuned for upcoming webinars.

I feel so proud to offer this educational opportunity to veterans. I’m energized about helping this vital business sector continue to thrive for generations to come.