Raleigh Just in time for Memorial Day, new data shows how important veterans of North Carolina’s business are. The state ranks 10th for veteran-owned businesses, while Fayetteville ranks 1 for mid-size metros, according to the a report
In the Old North State, 6.9% of all businesses are owned by veterans—a total of 11,728 businesses that employ 198,705 workers. That equates to annual revenue of $5 billion or more per year, according to Hire A Helper. Nationally, New Hampshire ranked first with 9.3%, followed by Virginia (8.8%) and Georgia (8.1%).
At the micro level, Fayetteville ranks as the number one mid-size subway with 604, or 11.6%, of all companies owned by veterans.
Industry experts say this isn’t too bad. But more can still be done.
“I would like to see if we can double or triple that,” said Blake Hogan, CEO of Bunker Labs, a Nashville-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving military and military entrepreneurs. The group launched a chapter in the Triangle in 2015; It is now based in WeWork in Raleigh.
“The talent is in North Carolina and all over the country.”
Others were more blunt.
Rich Camacho, CEO of veteran BlueRecruit, said in Friday afternoon at GrepBeat this week. “Given that we are in the home of Ft Bragg, [one of] The largest military bases in the world, it is actually disappointing to know that we are not ranked higher.”
The retired Army captain founded BlueRecruit, a job market designed for the unique skills and needs of blue-collar workers, in October 2018. He credits the local ecosystem and organizations like BunkerLabs for helping him take off, but believes the state needs to step up further.
“It could be as simple as an income tax exemption on military retirement, or property taxes for the first year,” he later explained. “Motivating retirees to stay in our state and build the next chapter of their lives here” would pay off huge dividends. “
More than 659,000 military veterans live in North Carolina, representing approximately 6.1% of the state’s population, Found a study based on census data. This puts it at number 25 of all states.
However, the state is the ninth most populous state and ranks fourth in the top four in terms of military population. Home to several military bases, including Fort Bragg, just over an hour to the south, the state has 122,214 active duty members.
Tim Horan is the co-founder of Atlas, a Durham training and employment guide for the military community. He wonders what can be achieved if North Carolina attracts and retains more veterans. “While we should celebrate our veteran entrepreneurs, we should naturally strive to do more, starting with attracting and retaining more veterans,” he said.
Over the past few years, a retired US Army company commander with a tour of duty in Afghanistan under his belt has been on the local startup scene helping well-fit veterans transition into technology and entrepreneurship.
He believes that the state could introduce a number of new incentives. Among them: allowing veterans access to GI Bill funds to support their entrepreneurial endeavours; Or install a business opportunity tax credit where the state matches or provides a tax credit.
He said the state could offer tax deferrals or exemptions to investors who invest in veteran-owned companies regardless of the geographical area within the state. “This program is already popular with Angels and venture capital firms in the Triangle, and will encourage more investors to fund veteran-owned businesses, which will attract and retain more veterans.”
“Countries can be more creative,” he said. “We are about to enter a difficult economic session, and a recession is likely. Veterans have been shown to be nearly twice as successful as their civilian peers. These are great leaders who can create great companies. There is a lot the state can do to improve that.”
Side note: On Wednesday, June 1, Bunker Labs will be holding the Residence Showcase Veterans Show, a nationwide event spanning across 23 cities and 3 virtual clusters, celebrating over 400 veteran and military entrepreneurs who launched their startups and companies from our group Last. For Rally Durham details, go over here.