Raleigh – Just in time for Memorial Day, new data shows how important veterans are to North Carolina businesses.State reportedly ranks 10th among established businesses, while Fayetteville tops list among mid-sized cities a report
In the Old North State, 6.9 percent of businesses are owned by veterans—a total of 11,728 businesses employ 198,705 workers. According to Hire A Helper, this equates to annual revenue of $5 billion or more. Nationally, New Hampshire ranked first with 9.3 percent, followed by Virginia (8.8 percent) and Georgia (8.1 percent).
On a micro level, Fayetteville ranks first among midsize cities with 604, or 11.6 percent, of veteran-owned businesses.
That’s not too shabby, industry experts say. But there is still more work to be done.
“I’d love to see if we can double or triple that number,” said Blake Hogan, executive director of Bunker Labs, a Nashville-based nonprofit dedicated to serving the military. and military family entrepreneurs. The group started a chapter in the Triangle in 2015; it is now based at WeWork in Raleigh.
“The talent exists in North Carolina and across the country.”
Others were outspoken.
“Frankly, this report is not capitalized for North Carolina,” said Rich Camacho, CEO of veteran startup BlueRecruit. GrepBeat’s Friday Noon this week. “Given that we are home to Fort Bragg, [one of] The largest military base in the world, it’s actually disappointing to learn that we don’t rank high. “
The retired Army captain founded BlueRecruit in October 2018, a job marketplace designed to meet the unique skills and needs of blue-collar workers. He thanked the local ecosystem and organizations like BunkerLabs for helping him get started, but he believes the state needs to step up more.
“It could be as simple as waiving income tax for military retirement or property tax for the first year,” he later clarified. “There will be huge benefits to incentivizing retirees to stay in our state and build a new chapter of their lives here.”
More than 659,000 veterans live in North Carolina, about 6.1% of the state’s population, A study based on census data found. This puts it around 25th in all states.
However, the state is the ninth most populous state and is in the top four with the largest military population. The state is home to a number of military bases, including Fort Bragg, just over an hour south, with 122,214 active-duty military personnel.
Tim Horan is the co-founder of Atlas, a training and employment guide for the military community based in Durham. He wondered what North Carolina would accomplish if it attracted and retained more veterans. “While we should celebrate our senior entrepreneurs, we should naturally strive to do more, starting with attracting and retaining more senior entrepreneurs,” he said.
For the past few years, the retired U.S. Army company commander has been on a mission in Afghanistan, where he has been on the local startup scene helping veterans well-suited to transition into tech and entrepreneurship.
He thinks the state can offer some new incentives. Among them: Allowing veterans to receive GI Bill funding to support their entrepreneurial efforts; or installing the Job Opportunity Tax Credit if 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 businesses, regardless of the state’s geographic area. “This program, already popular among angels and VCs in the Triangle, will encourage more investors to fund established businesses, which will attract and retain more veterans.”
“States can be more innovative,” he said. “We’re heading into tough economic times, possibly a recession. Veterans have proven to be nearly twice as successful as their civilian counterparts. These are incredible leaders who can create great companies. There’s a lot the country can do things to improve that.”
Side Note: On Wednesday, June 1st, Bunker Labs will host the Veterans Housing Showcase, a national event spanning 23 cities and 3 virtual groups celebrating more than 400 veterans and military spouse entrepreneurs Launch their startups and businesses from our recent group.For more information on Raleigh-Durham, visit here.