Veterans with Disabilities
Effective Entrepreneurship Practices (EEP) Series
JAN’S EEP SERIES
Job Accommodation Network
Effective Entrepreneurship Practices
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free,
expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and
disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that
benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities
enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on
the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the
JAN’s trusted consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace
accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related
legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for
people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone
and online. Those who can benefit from JAN’s services include private
employers of all sizes, government agencies, employee representatives,
and service providers, as well as people with disabilities and their
JAN is one of several services provided by the U.S. Department of
Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Its development
has been achieved through the collaborative efforts of ODEP, West
Virginia University, and private industry throughout North America.
Veterans are an active and integral part of the entrepreneurial
community in the United States, including those with disabilities.
This publication provides a road map for identifying programs and
resources that support and promote the increased participation of
veterans with disabilities in America’s entrepreneurial sector.
A Special Acknowledgement
The staff of the Job Accommodation Network would like to take this
opportunity to thank all veterans, past and present, for their service
to our country. It is our privilege to provide this information to
those individuals from the Armed Forces who have served and
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy
announced a research report on March 29, 2012, entitled Veteran-Owned
Businesses and Their Owners—Data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of
Business Owners documenting the progress of veteran entrepreneurship
since the enactment of the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small
Business Development Act of 1999. The report is based on data from the
2007 Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners released in 2011. This
report represents an ongoing effort by the SBA to provide up-to-date
and valuable information about business ownership by veterans,
including those with service-connected disabilities, to better inform
policy decisions in the future.
Employment considerations for veterans overall, and those with
service-connected disabilities returning from the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan have been a policy priority for the Obama Administration.
The Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development’s
Report to the President – Empowering Veterans through Entrepreneurship
(2011) states the following:
In sum, America has both an unquestioned responsibility and a
compelling incentive to empower veterans through entrepreneurship,
enabling them to become successful small business owners. This Task
Force strongly believes that serving veterans who are – or who want to
become – small business owners is crucial to America’s overall job
creation, economic growth, and competitiveness in the world economy.
The following accomplishments of the Obama Administration highlight a
commitment to supporting the development and growth of veteran-owned
Supported over $70 billion in SBA lending through the Recovery Act
(2009) and Small Business Jobs Act (2010). In 2011, the SBA
supported a record $30 billion in lending to small businesses.
Increased the percentage of federal contracts delivered to the
hands of small businesses including nearly $20 billion in contract
dollars to veteran and service-disabled veteran small businesses.
Provided free and low-cost counseling and training to over 1
million entrepreneurs, including more than 100,000 veterans and
members of the military community.
Provided record financing into “high growth” businesses to expand
new job growth.
Reduced regulatory barriers and streamlined assistance to expedite
small business development and innovation.
Veterans with service-connected and non-service-connected disabilities
are involved in every aspect of the U.S. labor force, including small
business ownership. Veterans of the Armed Forces bring to
entrepreneurship important occupational skills and leadership
abilities honed through their years of military service. Despite this
high level of skill development and managerial experience, veterans
find themselves returning to an economy still rebuilding from one of
the most severe recessions in U.S. history. Small business development
has been a cornerstone of this recovery effort, both in terms of
policy priorities and the necessity for many to create jobs where
there are none. Even with the credit crunch of recent years, a
Kauffman Foundation study showed entrepreneurial activity rose to its
highest level in 14 years in 2009.
An update to this data issued on March 19, 2012, shows that while
there was a drop in U.S. start-up activity in 2010, entrepreneurial
activity remains above pre-recession levels.
The Kauffman Index (2012) reports:
Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the wake of the Great Recession,
although the rate of new business creation dipped during 2011 and
start-up founders remained more likely to fly solo than employ others.
That's the big take away from the ‘Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial
Activity,’ a leading indicator of new business creation in the United
States published annually and released today by the Ewing Marion
Kauffman Foundation. The Index shows that 0.32 percent of American
adults created a business per month in 2011 – a 5.9 percent drop from
2010, but still among the highest levels of entrepreneurship over the
past 16 years.
While a mixed bag in terms of the job creation numbers,
entrepreneurship continues to play an important role in both the
current economic recovery, as well as provide a potentially gainful
employment option for veterans in general, as well as those with
Select highlights from the SBA Office of Advocacy report Veteran-Owned
Businesses and Their Owners – Data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of
Business Owners (2012) include:
The Census estimated that in 2007 there were 2.45 million
businesses with majority ownership by veterans.
8.3 percent of all respondent veteran owners had service connected
Service-disabled veterans formed a larger proportion of
non-employer owners than employer owners, 9.3 percent and 6
Industries with the largest share of service-disabled,
non-employer owners include: accommodation and food services at
11.6 percent, administrative and support and waste management at
11.4 percent, and other services at 11.1 percent.
Industries with the largest share of service-disabled, employer
owners include: transportation and warehousing at 7.2 percent;
administrative and support and waste at 7.2 percent; professional,
scientific, and technical services at 6.8 percent; and other
services at 6.8 percent.
Veteran-owned firms represented 9 percent of all U.S. firms.
At the time of the survey, 55.4 percent of veteran-owned
respondent businesses reported they were home-based.
More than half (53.4 percent) or veteran-owned employer firms had
one to four employees.
Personal and family savings provided the largest source of
start-up capital for businesses (61.7 percent) followed by
business loans from banks or other commercial lenders, which
accounted for the second most important source of capital.
California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Georgia had the largest
number of veteran-owned firms. On the other hand, the states with
the highest percentage of veteran-owned firms (which controls for
differences in population) include South Carolina with 12.9
percent, West Virginia with 12.6 percent, Virginia with 12.4
percent, Tennessee with 11.9 percent, and Alabama with 11.8
The 491,000 veteran-owned employers made up 20.1 percent of all
The 1.956 million veteran non-employer businesses made up 79.9
percent of all veteran businesses.
For family-owned businesses (with 2 or more members of the family
being the majority in the business), 15.1 percent of veteran-owned
businesses were reported to be family-owned.
At the time of this survey, 1.8 percent of veteran-owned
businesses were operated as franchises.
Resources to Assist Veterans to Start a Small Business
There are many resources available to assist veterans, particularly
those with disabilities, who want to start their own small business or
become self-employed. Many organizations that provide services to the
general public also have specific programs designed to meet the needs
of veterans. Organizations and resources may exist in a variety of
sectors, so it’s very useful for you to become knowledgeable of, and
take advantage of, the full range of resources available to you. The
resources in this document fall into three major categories:
Organizations that provide services to anyone who wants to start
their own business, especially small businesses. Be sure to pay
special attention for those organizations that have programs
specifically for veterans and/or people with disabilities.
Organizations that provide services to veterans. As a veteran, you
are entitled to use these services regardless of whether or not
you have a disability. Some of these veterans-oriented
organizations have programs or options specifically for veterans
with disabilities. Some of these require the disability be
service-connected. Others do not have this restriction, so that
any veteran with a disability may use them. Within this category,
you also will find those resources that specifically provide
services to veterans with disabilities.
Organizations that provide services to people with disabilities
related to entrepreneurship, accommodation options, farm ownership
opportunities, and employment more generally. Among these groups,
some offer specialized services for people with disabilities
wanting to start their own business. As with the organizations
that serve the general public, some of these also offer
specialized programs for veterans with disabilities. In some
instances, there may be requirements the disability is
service-connected. Other groups do not distinguish between whether
the disability is service-connected or not.
This document was developed by the Job Accommodation Network, funded
by a contract from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability
Employment Policy (#1605DC-17-C-0038). The opinions expressed herein
do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S.
Department of Labor. Nor does mention of tradenames, commercial
products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of