Since 9/11, the population of Women Veterans has more than doubled. While in 2000, women made up just 4% of the Veteran population, today they make up 10% of the Veteran population. And, VA estimates that by 2040, they will make up 18%. Women are the fastest growing population of Veterans, standing strong at 2 million now.
As the population of Women Veterans grows, we see subsets of Women Veteran populations surge as well. Entrepreneurship is just one of those subsets.
In the last 10 years, the number of Women Veteran entrepreneurs has soared. While many factors impact this growth, including increased access to digital technologies, growing support for veteran business owners, and more, we can’t ignore one key component of this:
Women Veterans are uniquely equipped for entrepreneurship.
With a history of leadership and grit behind them, Women Veterans are made for entrepreneurship.
If you take a look at a Woman Veteran’s military career, you would see a long story about leadership. Whether she was coordinating teams, organizing logistics for a complex mission, or flying in combat, she was leading.
Purpose-driven, team-oriented, and mission-focused, Women Veterans become leaders at a very young age. They’ve led themselves and others through complicated, life-or-death scenarios that typical American citizens could never imagine.
And over time, they assumed roles that women had never held before, creating pathways for women who followed them — a mark of a true leader.
Women Veterans have accomplished seemingly impossible tasks and pushed through challenges to be the “first” of many. They’ve been the first Women Veterans to:
- Fly in combat
- Graduate from service academies
- Walk in space
- Guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Command an aircraft carrier
- Complete Army Ranger School
- Earn the rank of 4-Star General
… And so much more. These Women brought exceptional skill, determination, and grit to their military careers, priming them for successful experiences as entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs and Innovators
So, it’s no surprise that these trailblazing women – regardless of whether they were a “first” – often choose to forge another new path for themselves after the military: entrepreneurship.
In fact, over the last decade, we have seen Women Veterans leverage their skills and strength into profitable and prosperous entrepreneurial careers.
Did you know that, while 1 in 10 veterans is a woman, 1 in 6 veteran-owned businesses are woman-veteran-owned? In fact, between 2007-2016, the number of woman veteran-owned businesses soared a whopping 295%!
Why is this?
Not only are Women Veterans uniquely equipped to leverage skills honed by years of military service, they are also empowered by a spirit of service to the community they represent. After all, when more women stand at the helm, when more women break records, when more women assume control of their careers, they create pathways for other women to do so as well.
According to recent research, Women Veterans are:
- 1.58 times more likely than men to become an entrepreneur so that they can help society or support their community.
- 1.16 times more likely than men to become an entrepreneur so that they can pursue opportunities to innovate.
- 92% of Women Veteran entrepreneurs are motivated to create ways to improve upon existing products or services.
In short, even after military service, Women Veterans are still focused on making the world a better place. And, they do this through continuing their service-minded mission and creating better solutions and opportunities for others. They are innovating new technologies, standing up nonprofits, and leading programs that empower young women to become future leaders. They are standing as True Leaders.
WVIF Supports Women Veterans in Entrepreneurship
At WVIF, we recognize that not only are Women Veterans uniquely qualified for a successful career in entrepreneurship, but that Women Veterans need a community in which they can form meaningful connections, learn from entrepreneurial mentors, and identify new opportunities for growth.
We are committed to creating opportunities and pathways for entrepreneurial success through targeted programs and events.
In April, we celebrated the inaugural National Women Veterans Pink & White Empowerment Summit, which connected Women Veterans to industry leaders and entrepreneurial experts. This November, we will hold the 2023 National Women Veterans Leadership & Diversity Conference, an annual event that empowers Women Veterans and provides opportunities to network and grow in their professional lives.
Registration is now open, and we strongly encourage Women Veterans interested in entrepreneurship, professional growth, and leadership to claim their spots NOW.