The United States has a long and proud tradition of honoring its veterans. These brave men and women have sacrificed their time, energy, and sometimes even their lives to protect the nation and defend its values. But their service doesn’t end when they hang up their uniforms. Many veterans transition to civilian life and become entrepreneurs, starting small businesses that play a vital role in strengthening both the American economy and society as a whole. As Veteran’s Day approaches, the Mountain Mat company reflects on the service and sacrifice of our nation’s service members as well as acknowledging the important economic contributions of those service members who have transitioned to the role of entrepreneur.
The Economic Impact of Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
Veteran-owned small businesses are engines of job creation in the United States. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are over 2.5 million small businesses owned by veterans in the country. These businesses employ millions of Americans, and every new veteran-owned business adds to this job-creating force. By supporting these businesses, we not only help veterans transition successfully into civilian life but also stimulate local economies.
Innovation and Competition
Veterans often bring unique skills and experiences to their businesses. Their military training often fosters discipline, leadership, and problem-solving abilities. These qualities make veteran entrepreneurs particularly well-suited to innovation and competition in a wide range of industries. From tech startups to manufacturing companies, veterans are making their mark by introducing new products and services, increasing competition, and driving economic growth.
Contributions to GDP
The economic impact of veteran-owned small businesses goes beyond job creation. Their contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are substantial. These businesses generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, fueling economic growth at both the local and national levels. Supporting veteran entrepreneurs means supporting the overall health of the U.S. economy.
The Social Benefits of Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
Veteran entrepreneurs are often deeply connected to their communities. They frequently participate in local events, support charitable causes, and engage in mentorship programs. Their strong sense of duty and commitment to service extend to their businesses, fostering a culture of giving back and community engagement.
Mental Health and Well-being
Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging, and many veterans struggle with issues such as PTSD and depression. Entrepreneurship provides a purpose and sense of accomplishment that can be therapeutic for veterans. It gives them a new mission and a reason to get out of bed every day, helping to improve their mental health and overall well-being.
Role Models and Inspiration
Veteran-owned small businesses serve as inspirational role models for others, including aspiring entrepreneurs and veterans themselves. These businesses demonstrate that with hard work, dedication, and the right support, veterans can achieve success in the civilian world. By celebrating their achievements, we motivate others to follow their entrepreneurial dreams.
The Importance of Support and Recognition
The government recognizes the importance of veteran-owned small businesses and has implemented various initiatives to support them. Programs like the Veterans Advantage Loan Program and the Boots to Business program offer financial assistance and training to veteran entrepreneurs. Supporting these government initiatives through advocacy and awareness is crucial for their continued success.
As consumers, we have the power to make a difference by choosing to support veteran-owned businesses. Websites and apps like “Buy Veteran” help consumers identify and patronize these businesses. By intentionally directing our spending towards veteran-owned establishments, we can contribute to their growth and success.
Corporations can play a significant role in supporting veteran-owned small businesses by forming partnerships, providing mentorship, and creating supplier diversity programs. Many major companies have recognized the value that veteran entrepreneurs bring to the table and actively seek to include them in their supply chains.
Success Stories of Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
Born from the vision of three military veterans from Indiana – Hoosier Warrior Coffee was an outlet to combine military honor, patriotism, love of coffee, and entrepreneurial spirits right into a cup of piping hot java. This company showcases how veterans can succeed as entrepreneurs while making a positive impact on society.
This nonprofit organization, founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, connects veterans with employment opportunities, including entrepreneurship. Through programs like the Veterans Institute for Procurement, they provide veteran entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources they need to start and grow successful businesses.
Mountain Mat (that’s us!)
Founded in 2019, after an overseas assignment in the Middle East, where a dual military family discovered popular plastic outdoor mats. Mountain Mat was born with the vision for premium, recycled plastic camping mats and RV patio rugs. Chad has since retired from active duty while Jennifer still holds a position as Colonel in the Air Force Reserves while she runs all day-to-day operations at Mountain Mat.
Supporting Veteran-Owned Small Businesses is a Win-Win
Veteran-owned small businesses are vital to the American economy and society. They create jobs, drive innovation, and contribute to GDP growth while also providing essential social benefits. By recognizing the importance of veteran entrepreneurs and actively supporting them through government initiatives, consumer choices, and corporate partnerships, we can help them thrive.
Furthermore, the success stories of veteran-owned businesses serve as inspiring examples of what can be achieved through determination and hard work. By supporting these businesses, we honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans while also reaping the economic and social benefits they bring to our communities. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and a true testament to the American spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Let’s continue to empower our heroes and build a stronger, more prosperous nation together.