Some Veteran Entrepreneurs Say Military Experience Is Helping Them Withstand The Pandemic

Army veteran Natacha Delince served two tours in Iraq. While she was deployed, a crisis was unfolding at home.

“Towards the end of my military career, my Mom had gotten sick,” she said. “So that kind of opened the gateway and exposed me to healthcare.”

When she left the Army in 2012, Delince had to move her mother into a nursing home. She also decided to pursue healthcare as a career – first as a nursing assistant, then as a healthcare administrator. She said the experience of watching her mother decline and die in a nursing home was traumatic. She wasn’t aware there were other options, like a group home.

“I wanted to start my own company,” she said. “Not only to provide those kind of services, but to also educate, if you will, the community on their options.”

By early 2020, she was ready to open her own group home … and then came the pandemic. Her new business has been in a holding pattern ever since.

According to a survey from Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families, 76 percent of vet entrepreneurs say they lost business because of the pandemic. About a third anticipate closing their businesses.

Still, Syracuse researcher Rosy Vasquez Maury says most vet-owned companies have weathered the pandemic economy fairly well. 65 percent of those surveyed said their military experience prepared them for business challenges brought on by COVID-19.

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