Support Veterans and Their Business Ventures

7,472 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

14.94% Complete

Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Tell the Department of Veterans' Affairs to give priority to businesses run by former service members.


After 1945, half of all American World War II veterans eventually became entrepreneurs. That number has since sharply dropped. Only 4.5% of more than 3.6 million post-9/11 U.S. military veterans have launched a company, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics1.

Our veterans fought for our freedoms, they have made great sacrifices, and we need to encourage the business ventures of those who have laid their lives on the line for our country.

When veterans begin their own businesses, we have the obligation to give them full support and assistance. The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act requires the Department of Veterans' Affairs to put veteran businesses first when it comes to assisting with basic business operations. But the VA doesn't always adhere to the legislation.

The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 allows the VA to favor veteran-owned businesses for most contracts under $5 million; made way for a database of small businesses owned and controlled by veterans and the veteran owners of such businesses, and prohibits other small businesses from misrepresenting themselves as being owned and controlled by veterans2.

Veterans are resourceful, innovative and more likely to be self-employed than nonveterans. In 2015, the unincorporated self-employment rate for veterans was 7.1%, compared with 6.4% for nonveterans. Among veterans, the highest rates of self-employment were recorded by those who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era; unincorporated and incorporated self-employment rates for these veterans were 15.3% and 8.7%, respectively. By comparison, Gulf War era II veterans — who have a much younger age profile — recorded lower rates of self employment: 2.4% were classified as unincorporated self-employed, and 2.1% were incorporated1.

Even with that entrepreneurial spirit, there are significant challenges for veterans entering the marketplace on their own.

The New York Fed's report on veteran entrepreneurship shows that veterans are now underemployed compared to non-veterans, though nearly of quarter of returning vets would like to start businesses. The challenge for many veterans is the lack of a strong business or personal network with which to begin their new ventures. Because they've been away and typically relocate fairly often, a lack of social resources can be a barrier to entrepreneurship3.

Our veterans deserve better. Sign the petition below and demand the Department of Veterans Affairs to give veteran businesses priority when granting resources and assistance to small corporations.

More on this issue:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 2016), "Self-Employment In The United States."
  2. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 109th Congress (22 December 2006), "S.3421 - Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006."
  3. U.S. Small Business Administration (November 2018), "Financing Their Future: Veteran Entrepreneurs and Capital Access."
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The Petition:

Dear Secretary of Veterans' Affairs:

Veterans have sacrificed their lives in order to keep this country safe and running. When they return, it's our responsibility to make it as easy as possible for them to integrate into civilian life and live normally. When former service members begin business ventures, we must give put them first when it comes to giving them the tools with which to set up their enterprises — whether it's good, services, or general assistance.

Veterans are resourceful, innovative and more likely to be self-employed than nonveterans. Even with that entrepreneurial spirit, there are significant challenges for veterans entering the marketplace on their own, not the least of which is a lack of social resources that can make entrepreneurship near impossible.

Our veterans deserve more. I demand you adhere to the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act and put veteran businesses first!

Sincerely,

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Signatures: