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From Service to Entrepreneurship: A Look at Veteran-Owned Businesses Across the U.S.

Veterans don’t just serve their country in uniform; they continue to make a big impact back home as entrepreneurs. These former service members bring a unique set of skills and a strong work ethic to their businesses, making a real difference in various industries across the United States. At American Fidelity Life Insurance, we’re proud to support these veterans as they transition from military life to business ownership.

Using detailed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we’ve taken a close look at where veteran-owned businesses are making their mark. We’re diving into which states have the most veteran-owned businesses and which industries are most influenced by these entrepreneurs. Join us as we explore the significant role veteran-owned businesses play in our economy and how they help shape our communities.


To explore the impact of veteran-owned businesses in the U.S., we utilized the most recent annual business survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This dataset provided detailed state-specific data to assess the presence and impact of veteran-owned businesses across the United States. We specifically looked at businesses only owned by veterans, it does not account for businesses that are equally veteran/non-veteran.

We analyzed the total number of businesses within each state alongside those owned by veterans only to evaluate their representation in state economies. Additionally, we pinpointed the leading industry in each state that draws the most veteran entrepreneurs and calculated the percentage of businesses within these sectors that are veteran-owned. This provided a detailed view of the influence and significance of veteran entrepreneurs within specific industries at the state level.

Our analysis did not include data from Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont due to insufficient Census data. 

Veterans in Business: A Nationwide Analysis

The landscape of veteran-owned businesses in the United States reveals a dynamic and significant presence in the national economy. On average, each state is home to approximately 6,595 businesses owned by veterans. Among the states, California leads with 31,060 veteran-owned businesses, followed closely by Texas with 25,483, and Florida with 25,196.

When looking at the proportion of businesses owned by veterans, some states show a particularly high concentration. West Virginia stands out with 10.84% of its businesses being veteran-owned, the highest in the nation. Virginia follows with 8.02%, and Alabama rounds out the top three at 7.54%. These figures highlight regions where veterans have become integral to the business community.

In terms of industries, veteran entrepreneurs have made significant strides. Professional services lead with 874,584 veteran-owned businesses, followed by construction at 745,503, and health care and social assistance with 680,101. This shows veterans gravitate towards sectors where they can utilize their skills and continue serving the community, highlighting their diverse contributions to the economy.

Where Do Veteran-Owned Businesses Thrive Across the U.S?

Veteran-owned businesses contribute to a variety of sectors across different states. The distribution of these businesses within specific industries varies regionally, reflecting local economic conditions and opportunities.


Dominant Industries by State

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: This sector dominates in 26 states, involving activities such as legal services, accounting, engineering, consulting, and more.
  • Construction: Prominent in 8 states, reflecting the skills many veterans acquire during their service.
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: Key in 5 states, where veterans contribute to public health and welfare.
  • Other Industries: Each featured in one state are finance and insurance; administrative support; waste management and remediation; accommodation and food services; real estate and rental and leasing; retail trade; and wholesale trade.


Detailed State Highlights



Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

  • Virginia:
    • 13% of businesses in this industry are veteran-owned.
    • 30% of all veteran-owned businesses in Virginia fall within this sector.
  • New Hampshire:
    • 13% of businesses in this industry are veteran-owned.
    • 20% of all veteran-owned businesses in New Hampshire are in this sector.
  • Mississippi:
    • 11% of businesses in this industry are veteran-owned.
    • 21% of all veteran-owned businesses in Mississippi are within this industry.



  • South Carolina:
    • 10% of businesses in the construction industry are veteran-owned.
    • 19% of all veteran-owned businesses in South Carolina are within this industry.
  • Pennsylvania:
    • 9% of businesses in the construction industry are veteran-owned.
    • 22% of all veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania fall within this sector.


Health Care and Social Assistance

  • New Mexico:
    • 13% of businesses in this industry are veteran-owned.
    • 23% of all veteran-owned businesses in New Mexico operate within this sector.
  • West Virginia:
    • 10% of businesses in this industry are veteran-owned.
    • 11.12% of all veteran-owned businesses in West Virginia are within this industry.


These statistics demonstrate the significant contributions of veterans across diverse industries and their capacity to leverage military-acquired skills into successful business ventures across the states.

Overarching Industry Data

Veteran-owned businesses span a diverse range of industries across the United States, with certain states leading in specific sectors due to the highest concentrations of these enterprises. Here’s a detailed look at how three key states dominate various industries, each having the highest number of veteran-owned businesses within these sectors compared to all other states.

Texas: A Diverse Industrial Leader

Texas stands out with the highest number of veteran-owned businesses in 10 different industries, making it a significant hub for veteran entrepreneurship. These industries include:

  • Retail (approx. 2,476 businesses)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (approx. 1,311 businesses)
  • Administration and Waste Management Services (approx. 1,571 businesses)
  • Wholesale Trade (approx. 2,070 businesses)
  • Finance and Insurance (approx. 1,729 businesses)
  • Educational Services (approx. 411 businesses)
  • Management Services (approx. 135 businesses)
  • Agriculture & Forestry (approx. 93 businesses)
  • Mining & Extraction (approx. 160 businesses)
  • Utilities (approx. 33 businesses)


California: Specializing in High-Impact Sectors

In California, the entrepreneurial spirit of veterans shines through in six key industries where the state has the highest number of veteran-owned businesses compared to others. These industries are:

  • Professional Services (approx. 6,872 businesses)
  • Construction (approx. 3,851 businesses)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (approx. 4,186 businesses)
  • Manufacturing (approx. 1,688 businesses)
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (approx. 521 businesses)
  • Information (approx. 522 businesses)


Florida: Leading in Real Estate

Florida shines in the real estate industry, hosting the highest number of veteran-owned businesses compared to any other state in this sector, leveraging the state’s growth and attractive investment opportunities.

Together, these insights into state-specific leadership in various industries illustrate the broad impact of veteran entrepreneurs across the U.S. economy, highlighting their adaptability, strategic thinking, and significant contribution to diverse business sectors.

Closing Thoughts

As we conclude our exploration of veteran-owned businesses across the United States, it’s clear that these entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in our economy. From leading industries in professional services and construction to making inroads in health care and real estate, veterans leverage their unique skills and military experience to not only build successful businesses but also to significantly impact the communities they serve.

We believe that the success of these veteran-owned businesses strengthens local economies and, by extension, the nation. This is why we remain committed to serving those who have served us, ensuring they have the resources and support needed to thrive in their post-service lives.

We encourage veteran entrepreneurs and their supporters to engage with us at American Fidelity. Learn more about our tailored insurance solutions and join a community that appreciates and supports your hard-earned skills and sacrifices.