National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs

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About the Study


The National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs (NSMAE) is a confidential, multi-year study that seeks to better understand military-affiliated entrepreneurs. The goal is to identify opportunities and barriers that military-affiliated entrepreneurs face. This information will be used to create a public dataset that can inform practitioners, policy makers, and communities about these needs and advance opportunities. This research is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Learn more about the study

Paper Series

Our paper series consists of reports, publications, and presentations that are based on the NSMAE data.

Current Publications


Cover of National Survey of Military Affiliated Entrepreneurs

2021 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs Research Report


This report shares findings from the 2021 National Survey of Military Affiliated (NSMAE) entrepreneurs about their experiences related to entrepreneurship, COVID-19 pandemic, military, and overall wellbeing. In the last decade, the rate of civilian and veteran entrepreneurship has shown signs of decline. However, there has been a surge in entrepreneurship in the U.S. since the pandemic. The pandemic has created conditions favorable for entrepreneurship; however, it has also affected the entrepreneurial activities and specific barriers for military-affiliated entrepreneurs that influence and shape their entrepreneurial activity, even though entrepreneurship is a viable career choice, given the transient nature of military life.

View The Report

2021 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs Infographic


This brief provides the latest insights from the 2021 NSMAE survey. The findings reported here are from both a longitudinal and cross-sectional sample of over 2,000 veteran entrepreneurs. Future briefs will include subsequent data analysis on focused topics and various populations within the military-affiliated community. This annual survey and forthcoming public dataset will be an enduring source of current insights for public and private sector leaders, policymakers, and community-based organization on systemic barriers to and drivers of entrepreneurial success among veterans and their family members.

View the Report

Cover of February 2022 Data Brief: Black and African American Veteran Entrepreneurs

February 2022 Data Brief: Black and African American Veteran Entrepreneurs


This brief provides highlights from the 2021 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs (NSMAE) focusing on Black and African American veteran entrepreneurs. These findings are based on data collected from 327 Black and African American veteran entrepreneurs, which represents 21% of the respondents that answered the race/ethnicity question of the 2021 survey. This annual survey monitors trends in the activity, needs, as well as the economic, social, and policy barrier of military affiliated entrepreneurs in the United States. These findings will be an enduring source of current insights for public and private sector leaders, policymakers, and community-based organizations on systemic barriers to and drivers of entrepreneurial success among Black and African American veterans and their family members.

View The Data Brief

Cover of Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Data brief.

Data Brief: Women Veteran Entrepreneurs


This brief provides highlights from the 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs focusing on female veteran entrepreneurs. These findings are based on the data collected from 432 female veteran entrepreneurs, which represents 27% of the respondents that answered the gender question of the 2020 survey. This study monitors trends in the activity, needs, and economic, social, and policy barriers of military-affiliated entrepreneurs in the United States. This annual survey and forthcoming public dataset will be an enduring source of current insights for public and private sector leaders, policymakers, and community-based organization on systemic barriers to and drivers of entrepreneurial success among female veterans and their family members.

View Brief

Cover of Black history Month Brief 2021

2021 Data Brief: Black and African American Veteran Entrepreneurs


This brief provides highlights from the 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs study focusing on Black and African American veteran entrepreneurs. These findings are based on the data collected from 333 Black and African American veteran entrepreneurs, which represents 21% of the respondents that answered the race/ethnicity question of the 2020 survey. This study monitors trends in the activity, needs, and economic, social, and policy barriers of military-affiliated entrepreneurs in the United States.

Some of the key highlights:

  • 49% of Black Veteran Entrepreneurs were turned down by a creditor or lender when seeking funding in 2019
  • 44% of business debt of Black Veteran Entrepreneurs is on credit cards
  • 34% of Black Veteran lack mentors for their business

View Brief

Cover of National Survey of Military Affiliated Entrepreneurs: 2020 Key Highlights

National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs: 2020 Key Highlights


The IVMF National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs monitors trends in the activity, needs, and economic, social, and policy barriers of military-affiliated entrepreneurs in the United States. In its inaugural year, the intent was to draw from a cross-sectional sample of over 2,500 veteran entrepreneurs. Future surveys will also track trends and pressing issues. For example, in 2020 the survey was updated to focus on such COVID-19. All NSMAE surveys and forthcoming public datasets will be an enduring source of current insights for public and private sector leaders, policymakers, and community-based organization on systemic barriers to and drivers of entrepreneurial success among veterans and their family members.

View Report

Cover of 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs

2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs Research Report


This report is the result of the first year of data collection from our National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs – a multi-year, annual and longitudinal study of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Overall, the findings from this report corroborate previous research asserting there is a noteworthy relationship between military service and entrepreneurship. Veteran entrepreneurs are motivated to be independent, creative, innovative, and to serve society and support their communities. On the other hand, they experience an array of barriers to include access to capital, difficulty navigating resources, certification process hurdles, and lack  assistance from medical and disability service providers. This study reveals success or failure does not depend on one, but rather on multiple factors related to barriers and challenges veteran entrepreneurs experience.

View Report

Other Publications


The State of Veteran Entrepreneurship

A presentation given during the 2022 Student Veterans of America National Conference in Orlando, FL discussing the topics of advancing entrepreneurship through education.

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Setting the Record Straight: Debunking Myths about Veteran Entrepreneurs

  • Research presentation
  • 2022 USASBE Conference
  • Tihic, M., Maury, R., & Prichard, A. (2022). Setting the Record Straight: Debunking Myths about Veteran Entrepreneurs. USASBE Conference, Raleigh, NC.

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Veteran Entrepreneurship

  • Research presentation
  • 2022 USASBE Conference
  • Tihic, M., Maury, R., & McKelvie, A. (2022). Veteran Entrepreneurship. USASBE Conference, Raleigh, NC.

View Presentation

Veteran Entrepreneurship

  • Research presentation
  • 2021 GCEC Conference
  • Tihic, M., Maury, R., & Prichard, A. (2021). The State of Veteran Entrepreneurship. GCEC Conference, Baltimore, MD.

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Advancing Veteran Entrepreneurship Through Education

A presentation given during the 2021 Student Veterans of America National Conference discussing the topics of advancing entrepreneurship through education.

View The Research Presentation

Advancing Veteran Entrepreneurship Through Education

A presentation given during the 2021 NASPA Virtual Symposium on Military-Connected Students discussing the topics of advancing entrepreneurship through education.

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The Antecedents of Military on Entrepreneurial Outcomes of Veterans

  • Research presentation
  • 2021 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference
  • Tihic, M., Maury, R., & Hadzic, M. (2021). The Antecedents of Military on Entrepreneurial Outcomes of Veterans. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, Virtual conference due to Coronavirus.

View The Presentation

Advancing Veteran Entrepreneurship Through Education

  • Research Presentation
  • 2021 CCME Annual Symposium
  • Tihic, M. & Maury, R. (2021). Advancing Veteran Entrepreneurship Through Education. The Council of College and Military Educators Annual Symposium.

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The Network Structure of Veteran Entrepreneurs: Different Not Difficult

  • Research paper presentation
  • 2021 Virtual Transitional Entrepreneurship Colloquium, Strome College of Business, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
  • Tihic, M., Hadzic, M., McKelvie, A., & Blass, F. R. (2021). The Network Structure of Veteran Entrepreneurs: Different Not Difficult. 2021 Transitional Entrepreneurship Colloquium, Virtual colloquium due to Coronavirus.

View The Presentation

Forthcoming Publications - TBA


 Success and Barriers for Veteran Entrepreneurs


The 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs monitors trends in the activity and needs, as well as economic, social and political barriers of veteran entrepreneurs in the United States. Professor Alex McKelvie and post-doctoral researcher Mirza Tihic explain their research and findings of the recent study. Also, learn more about the unique characteristics that drive success in entrepreneurial ventures.

Research Team


IVMF leads the NSMAE initiative in collaboration with a team of multi-disciplinary researchers from Whitman School of Management.

Funding and Collaborating Partners

This ongoing study is made possible through support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship, and the Whitman School of Management.

We would also like to thank Amazon, Disability:IN, Dog Tag, Inc., Enterprise, Fiserv, Florida State University (FSU) & Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, George W. Bush Presidential Center, Hillsborough Community College, Johnson & Johnson, Louisiana State University (LSU), National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NAVOBA), Patriot BootCamp, Peoplefund, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Small Business Administration (SBA), Texas A&M University (TAMU), The Walt Disney Company, UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of Missouri, Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), USAA, Walmart, Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University,  and Wyndham for their contribution in developing this project.

This study is the result of the collaboration and support of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship, Fiserv, JPMorgan Chase, Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB), Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University, and the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and many other partners and supporters who shared this research opportunity with veteran entrepreneurs. Finally, this study would not have been possible without the many military-affiliated entrepreneurs who shared their time, business ownership experiences, and insights. Thank you.


In Collaboration With:

Center of Excellence for veteran EntreprenuershipFiservJPMC logo Whitman School of Management logo

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