State initiatives aim to help veterans start small businesses

North Charleston
March 21, 2014

Military veterans bring a unique skillset when starting their own businesses. But they also face many of the same challenges as non-veteran entrepreneurs.

There are more than 900,000 vets in New York state. And the unemployment rate among recently-returned vets is consistently higher than state and national levels.

Job training programs and Work Opportunity Tax Credits are being used to get more veterans employed. But there are also efforts to help them start their own businesses.

Lee Buttolph is a Marine veteran who took over his father’s lumber business based in Phoenix, New York. He says it takes a lot to run a business.

“Just being in the military is not enough to do it; it takes a lot of work. But what the military really prepares you for is the long, hard hours. The leadership that it takes.”

The Small Business Administration, which put on a forum at Onondaga Community College Thursday, says veterans often have a high success rate than other entrepreneurs. That has a lot to do with their discipline and drive.

The SBA says the amount of money out there to help vets start a business has doubled in the last five years.

At a veterans and military families summit in Albany Thursday, the Cuomo administration set a goal of six percent participation in state contracts for small businesses run by disabled veterans.