A new study by the Kauffman Foundation documents a long-term decline in the number of businesses started by military veterans.
In 1996, veterans represented 12.3 percent of all new entrepreneurs, but by 2011, veterans comprised just 6 percent of new entrepreneurs, the study found. Until three years ago, veterans generally started companies at higher rates than non-veterans.
Much of the trend can be explained by the increasing numbers of veterans aging out of the nation’s working-age population. The share of veterans in this population fell from 11.2 percent in 1996 to 6.4 percent in 2011, the study showed.
One question the report raises is whether the trend will affect younger veterans’ propensity to start their own businesses.
“What’s troubling about the waning numbers of veteran-owned startups is that younger veterans now have less support from within their own community of veterans as they consider their own entrepreneurial ventures: fewer networking opportunities, mentors and funders among the older generations of vets,” said Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.