By: Lea Hensel and Cally Reed, UNI Business and Community Services
Did you know there are over 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States, according to the latest (2016?) U.S. Census Bureau data? They account for sales/receipts of $1.2 trillion. So we wondered, how does Iowa compare to other states in the Midwest when it comes to the number and impact of veteran-owned businesses?
How Iowa Ranks
To be exact, there were 2,540,706 veteran-owned businesses in the United States in 2015. Of those, Iowa had 26,119 which accounts for just 1% of all veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. For data nerds, the bureau’s information goes even deeper into breaking that down by when the veteran served, age, education, and more which you can see here.
Now this doesn’t take into account population differences or total number of businesses state to state, but we wondered how Iowa’s 1% compared with our surrounding states.
Economic Development Impact
- Illinois - 89,828 (3.5% of overall)
- Minnesota - 45,939 (1.8% of overall)
- Missouri - 45,587 (1.7% of overall)
- Wisconsin - 40,147 (1.5% of overall)
- Nebraska - 16,817 (0.6% of overall)
- South Dakota - 8,661 (0.3% of overall)
Like all types of small businesses, veteran-owned businesses have a direct impact on the economic development of their communities and the state through not only sales but also job growth. Iowa’s veteran-owned businesses brought in $10,916,652 in sales and employed 51,801 people at the time of the SBA Office of Advocacy Census Bureau in the pay period of March of 2012.
Here’s the sales figures and number of employees of Veteran-owned businesses in 2012.
- Illinois - $45,376,994
- Minnesota - $23,370,052
- Missouri - $22,116,006
- Wisconsin - $20,506,763
- Nebraska - $8,205,259
- South Dakota - $3,997,845
Lastly, here’s the number of employees at veteran-owned businesses in our neighboring states in March 2012.
- Illinois - 195,641
- Minnesota - 109,679
- Missouri - 103,175
- Wisconsin - 87,740
- Nebraska - 37,994
- South Dakota - 16,197
If you’d like to dig up more information about veteran-owned businesses the SBA’s Veteran-Owned Businesses Report is a good resource. By our numbers Iowa has a solid foundation of veteran-owned small businesses, and rich soil to continue to grow new ones. So keep pursuing your goals and aspirations, and remember, your work is making a difference in our communities!
Getting Started and Growing
Also be sure to check out Home Base Iowa: Connecting Veterans to Civilian Careers to learn about Iowa’s program that assists service members in finding meaningful work in Iowa when they return home. If you’re a Service member looking into business ownership, SBA’s Boots to Business Training/Reboot Supports Veteran Entrepreneurs is a great place to start!
Of those 26,000 veteran-owned businesses in Iowa, many took advantage of funding opportunities available through state and federal programs. Take a look at Entrepreneur Spotlight: O’Brien’s Own Gourmet Granola to learn more about the Targeted Small Business program and learn how Rick and his wife started their company.
Other resources to check out:
To all the veterans in our readership, thank you for your service. And to those that are already running their business or considering getting started, be sure to take advantage of the funding and startup opportunities out there specifically designed for you!