Veteran Entrepreneurs Amid Covid-19 Pandemic – Preliminary Insights

The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) are issuing preliminary results from a study on how veteran-owned businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was administered by the Jim Moran Institute and researchers at Florida State University during the week of May 4th, 2020. IVMF aided survey dissemination within the veteran and military connected community. The survey focuses on the COVID-19 related stresses and business outcomes experienced by veteran business owners. This particular report provides some preliminary results and insights followed by concrete recommendations for veteran entrepreneurs and resource providers. A detailed report from the Jim Moran Institute and IVMF will be produced by the end of the June 2020.


Out of 227 survey participants who identified as veterans, 72 percent were male, 19 percent were female, and nine percent identified as other. Regarding racial/ethnic demographics, 52 percent identify as Caucasian, 24 percent as multiracial, seven percent Hispanic/Latino, six percent as Black or African American, six percent as biracial, two percent Middle Eastern, two percent Native American, one percent Asian, one percent Pacific Islander, and less than one percent as other. The majority of surveyed entrepreneurs owned a for profit business (about 74 percent,) while 13% owned nonprofit organizations. Another 13% own ‘other’ types of business.

Preliminary Insights

Business Closure

About 39 percent of veteran owned businesses have closed due to COVID-19, 83 percent of whom don’t believe they will close the business permanently. The remaining 17 percent is uncertain whether or not they will open their business again. More than 41 percent of veteran-owned businesses are operating at 20-40% capacity, while only seven percent are operating at 80-100% capacity. In contrast, the non-veteran survey participants report only five percent are closed due to COVID-19, and about 80 percent work in reduced capacity.

Government Aid

Given the federal government has provided financial aid to small businesses, 60 percent of veteran business owners have applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), while 40 percent did not. 43 percent applied for both PPP and EIDL, while nine percent applied for PPP only, and three percent applied for EIDL only. Out of those who applied, 53 percent received EIDL funding only, 48 percent received PPP funding only, four percent received both PPP and EIDL, and three percent did not receive any funding.

Stress and Burnout

66 percent of survey participants said they don’t feel stressed by the situation and circumstances. Similarly, 66 percent reported they don’t feel burned out by the circumstances even if their business has been negatively affected. On the other hand, more non-veteran survey participants reported an increased level of stress and a high burn out rate, over 70% feel stressed and burned out.



  • Connect or re-connect with your entrepreneurship service providers, i.e. Small Business Development Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Center, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans, Veterans EDGE, Coalition for Veteran Owned Business, Bunker Labs, etc.
  • Reach out to your entrepreneurship networks, both veteran and non-veteran, seek and offer assistance and support.
  • Share your challenges with veteran service organizations. If they don’t know what your challenges are, they can’t assist or advocate.
  • Communicate with your employees as well as your customers. Show empathy and understanding. Both customers and employees can help identify new opportunities and ways of conducting business.

Resource/Service Providers

  • Offer technology training to accommodate remote work
  • Offer e-commerce training and assistance, workshops and instruction on ‘how to sell online’ given the restrictions on in-person contact
  • Provide a platform and networking opportunities for struggling businesses to identify strategic partners or other entrepreneurs interested in acquiring them
  • Offer training and assistance related to government aid and overall access to small business financing.

These results reflect preliminary insights from this survey. Given the findings and urgency of the current situation, our goal has been to provide some guidance and resources to veteran entrepreneurs, as well as those who serve them. We will publish more information and insights in a full report at the end of June 2020.

In order to better serve veteran entrepreneurs, it is critical to understand their challenges. In order to gain better insights, Syracuse University’s IVMF has launched the National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs to capture the motivations, challenges and barriers for all military-affiliated individuals who have started a business, currently own/operate a business or are interested in entrepreneurship. The goal of the survey is to inform public, private, and nonprofit practitioners (SBA, VOBs, Financial Institutions, PTACs, corporations interested in collaborating with veteran owned businesses, etc.), policy makers and the academic community regarding unique characteristics and needs of military-affiliated entrepreneurs. If you are a veteran, active duty, member of National Guard or Reserve, spouse or dependent, please visit the following link to take the survey:

About the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship

The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship cultivates, trains and inspires entrepreneurial leaders through world-class executive education, applied training, public recognition and leading-edge research.

Jim Moran was an automotive pioneer and an entrepreneur at heart, who at the age of 7, sold soda pop at sandlot baseball diamonds in Chicago. With a career that spanned more than six decades, he built an amazing chronicle of achievements in the automobile industry.

His vision for the Jim Moran Institute was to provide opportunities that would help others become more successful business owners. A 1995 contribution from Jim and Jan Moran and JM Family Enterprises established the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at the Florida State University College of Business. Since 2011, further enhancements to the Jim Moran Institute and its outreach have been made possible by Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation.

For more information, visit