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by Annie Nelson
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Business 101: Black Entrepreneurs Helping Veteran Owned Businesses Through Development Initiative
Much has already been written about the plight of Black entrepreneurs and the major issues that have kept them from achieving significant benchmarks.
These issues have included lack of diversity in contracting and financing opportunities. It is hard to be in the business comfort zone where people “do business with people who look like them” when the majority of those in decision making positions do not look like Black entrepreneurs.
There have been some inroads, but the challenges continue to remain. However, the lack of diversity in the upper echelons is not the major problem for veteran entrepreneurs. The lack of inclusion and access to information for growth are their major problems.
Government and private programs for veterans interested in entrepreneurship focus on minimal resource supports that have generated a majority of sole proprietor businesses – over 80 percent - that are ill equipped to expand despite the availability of funding and resources.
Community advocates and experts in other underserved business environments, particularly those involving Black entrepreneurs, are well aware of what needs to be done to build up veteran entrepreneurs. Black entrepreneurs are directing their expertise towards helping veteran owned businesses who represent the new frontier in business development and community empowerment.
According to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, there were 2.4 million non-farm Veteran Owned Businesses (VOBs) in 2007. These VOBs accounted for nine percent of all non-farm businesses, five percent of the total employment and 4.1 percent of total receipts for U.S. businesses. Of this total, close to two million of these VOBs are classified as non-employer businesses without paid employees that generated $93.9 billion in receipts, accounted for 80 percent of the total number of VOBs.
The report adds that the average receipt for these VOBs was $47,900. There are numerous press releases that highlight the programs and services that are geared towards veterans facing critical issues such as homelessness, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury et al.
VA programs that provide retraining and GI Bill supports still have a