By Jay Gladney, Greater Phoenix SCORE, Chapter President

So why is that? I can think of three good reasons—although there are probably more. First, it’s the right thing to do. We know that coming back into the civilian world from military service can be a difficult transition—whether at a young age from just a few years of service or at an older age from a full military career. Those who have put themselves on the line to defend our freedom deserve all the help we can give to make it easier to be successful in the civilian world as well.

Second, many of us who serve as SCORE mentors are veterans ourselves. Though we are open to and happy to serve all, it is a special bonus for us to be able to “give back” to one of our own.

Third, we have found that veterans are often better equipped to succeed at business and thus are more satisfying clients. When you look at the traits necessary for successful entrepreneurs, you find that they need to be hard-working, dedicated, disciplined, multi-skilled, self-sufficient, and focused on accomplishing their goals. Those are precisely the traits that have made veterans successful in military service. Veterans bring that culture to the challenges that are inevitable in starting a small business and nurturing it to succeed.

SCORE wants to be part of extending the long history of military veterans finding success in business. For example, a Syracuse University study found that nearly 49.7% of WWII veterans went on to own or run a business. More recently, U.S. Census data from November 2015 indicates that veterans owned more than 10% of the 2,540,000 businesses in the United States. In Arizona, the ownership percentage was about 9%, probably reflecting that more of the veterans in Arizona are already retired from their second careers as well.

For veterans who see themselves as potential business owners, I encourage you to use the many resources that are there to help. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great place to start. They are actively engaged in military transition programs like “Boots to Business” and, as a “resource partner of the SBA, SCORE is an active participant. As a continuation of your transition, you should engage with us to take advantage of the experienced business mentors, business training, and support we provide. For those of you in the Phoenix Metro Area, start with our website and make an appointment to meet with one of our 75 experienced mentors. We are there to help you no matter what stage you are in business—start up or long-standing existing business. And we never send you a bill—our mentoring services are always free. Take advantage of one of the best deals in town!

Jay Gladney, president of Greater Phoenix SCOREBy Jay Gladney; Chapter President, Greater Phoenix SCORE; Retired Mustang Major, USAF