Committee Highlights Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Veterans

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Washington, May 7 | comments
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today highlighted initiatives that are helping veterans apply their skills to become entrepreneurs.

The hearing focused on veteran-owned small businesses, and private sector efforts that are helping veterans succeed. Veterans that have served since 2001 face higher unemployment rates than the rest of the population, and by 2040, they will make up more than 50 percent of the total veteran population. While facing challenges in transitioning to new civilian jobs after time in the military, returning service members possess leadership skills that naturally translate to entrepreneurship. In response, several private sector initiatives have been launched to assist our nation’s heroes to transfer unique skills gained during military service to the world of business.

“Veterans are more likely to become entrepreneurs than the rest of the population, and it makes sense. They acquire leadership, communications, and other applicable skills in the military, and small business ownership is a great avenue to use those abilities,” said Chairman Graves. “Even with these skills, the unemployment rate for veterans remains a problem. Many returning veterans find the transition out of the military challenging. I greatly appreciated the insight today on private sector initiatives that are helping veterans pursue new career paths and become business owners. A strong support system can help veterans not only get started, but achieve lasting success in the business world.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Wade Franklin, Owner, The UPS Store Clarendon, Arlington, VA, on behalf of the International Franchise Association, said, “In a report on Veterans Day in 2013, a survey revealed that the franchise industry has nearly doubled its hiring target. Since 2011, over 151,000 veterans have started careers in franchising. However, we are most proud of the fact that over 5,000 veterans have been recruited as franchise owners across hundreds of franchise systems. Unsurprisingly, the survey went further to indicate that veteran-owned franchises were more successful than other franchises, far out-pacing non-veteran-owned units in both sales and number of jobs created.”

Dawn Smith, Founder and CEO, Mystic Reme Teas, Greenville, SC, on behalf of the Business and Professional Women's Foundation, said, “With Sandy’s encouragement and sustained mentoring last year, I started an online store that sells my own brand of tea. I am very excited that Mystic Reme Teas is currently in the final selection round to appear on the ABC show Shark Tank. If I am chosen, I will be seeking funding to open my own tea bar. I truly believe that none of this would have happened without the personal mentoring and wide array of high tech – high touch resources offered by BPW Foundation.”

Charleston Malkemus, Founder and CEO, Gozump, Inc., Miami, FL, on behalf of The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said, “Paving the way for America’s future begins with the next greatest generation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the private sector are both poised to play pivotal roles in the country’s ability to capitalize on the surge of talented veterans coming home. Programs like Hiring Our Heroes, which can orchestrate action at the local, state, and national level, are vital to veterans finding employment where they can create value for our small businesses.”

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