Which cities are the best for veterans looking to start a small business? There are several factors, of course, but in the end it often comes down to a supportive community, local veterans' business programs, and local government policies.
A new survey of 1,300 veteran small business owners shows which cities ranked the best. The survey was conducted by Thumbtack.
Top Five Cities for Veterans in the U.S.
"Time and again, servicemen and women across the country have shared with us a main reason why they became entrepreneurs: their experience in the military carried over into a career in which they control their own destiny, sometimes by equipping them with the technical skills needed in their second career, but always by ensuring that they had the ‘soft skills’ so critical to running a small business,” said Thumbtack Economist Lucas Puente, PhD. “At Thumbtack, we celebrate the 2.5 million veterans who run their own small businesses in the U.S., and encourage local governmental leadership to ensure veterans pursuing this path have the resources they need to succeed.”
Veterans continue to do more than their fair share after leaving the military: More than one-in-four veterans in the workforce are running their own business, a rate that is 7.7 percentage points greater than the national average, according to the Census Bureau.
As part of Thumbtack's 2017 Small Business Friendliness Survey, we asked 1,371 veteran-small-business-owners on Thumbtack to evaluate their local governments’ support for businesses like theirs to determine the best communities for veterans to start, manage and grow a small business. Leadership by local governmental and political officials in the top cities are tasked with ensuring veteran entrepreneurs have the resources they need to succeed and don’t get stymied by the local regulatory or tax infrastructure.
The veterans interviewed for this study noted a military background alone isn’t sufficient to develop a thriving business; another factor they pointed to is a supportive community. While every business’ needs are different, the study indicates operating in a place where veteran-owned businesses are valued by clients, bankers, suppliers, and others can provide a leg up in the harrowing process of starting and growing a small business.
“Austin is a phenomenal place for a Veteran to start a business,” said Thumbtack Pro Teri Young, owner of Teri Young Photography. “The community is rich with active and retired military personnel, as well as an abundance of supportive, patriotic civilians. With local programs like ‘Boots to Business’ and SCORE, the idea of becoming my own boss was a much clearer reality.”
Top Occupations for Veterans on Thumbtack (as of November 2017)
- Landscaper / Lawncare Professional
- General Contractor
- Outdoor Cleaner
- House Cleaner
- Junk Remover
- Window and Door Specialist
- Flooring Professional
- Fence Installer
- Personal Trainer
- Furniture Assembler
- Concrete Professional
- Computer and Device Repair Specialist
Between July 26, 2017 and September 6, 2017, Thumbtack Economist, Lucas Puente, PhD, surveyed 13,284 skilled professionals from across the U.S., operating across hundreds of categories, including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, wellness professionals and more. The survey asked these entrepreneurs about the policies of their states and cities toward small business, as well as the overall level of support in their communities. For the survey methodology, please visit: https://www.thumbtack.com/survey.
Founded in 2009, Thumbtack created an inventory system for local services that automatically matches a customer with a specific need to a qualified local pro for the job. Offering 1,000 different categories, Thumbtack helped customers complete 25 million jobs -- from plumbing, to catering, to personal training and math tutoring -- generating over $1 billion in earnings to pros in 2016. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack is backed by Sequoia Capital, Google Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Investment Partners and Baillie Gifford. For more information, please visit: www.thumbtack.com.