The skills that made veterans successful in the military – leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and perseverance – are the same skills found in successful entrepreneurs. In fact, close to one-quarter of military members surveyed by the Small Business Administration and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York expressed a desire to start a business as their first career option after separating from the military. Unfortunately, that same survey also found that the number of veteran entrepreneurs is declining compared to their civilian counterparts, and this decline is even more pronounced among younger veterans. This decline reflects the challenges that veteran entrepreneurs in particular face – lack of access to financial capital as well as lack of social capital (access to investors, experts, and mentors).
Dixon Center is committed to reversing this decline. We connect programs focused on assisting veteran entrepreneurs with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), a $150 billion industry that helps money flow to people and places that traditional financing opportunities overlook.
It is also important for lenders and investors to understand the potential that veteran entrepreneurs have as drivers of the economy. Dixon Center has trained financial managers, lenders, mentors, and others in how to leverage the entrepreneurial energy of veterans and assist them in overcoming the obstacles they face as they start a small business.