Seeking out veteran-owned businesses is a great way to support veterans, their businesses, and their employees. Read on to learn more about how to find veteran-owned businesses near you or online. We’ve also included a list of awesome veteran-owned brands to check out!
4 Ways to Find Veteran-Owned Businesses in Your Community
Finding veteran-owned businesses has never been easier. Several organizations maintain lists to help buyers find veteran-owned businesses.
- The American Veteran-Owned Business Association (AVOBA) lists over 37,000 veteran-owned businesses across the country. You can search by state, county, and city to find veteran-owned businesses near you.
- Buy Veteran is another prominent site that makes it easy for people to find veteran-owned businesses near them. Buy Veteran verifies the status of its business members with ID.me when they join and create a listing.
- The Women Veterans Alliance provides a listing of businesses owned by women vets. Veterans can add their own businesses to the directory for free.
- Rosie’s List connects consumers to military-connected businesses. Search by product/service type and location or browse categories.
8 Veteran-Owned or Veteran-Founded ID.me Partners
Here’s a list of just a few ID.me partners who are either veteran-owned or veteran-founded.
- Black Rifle Coffee Company – This veteran-owned-and-operated company sells coffee (ground, whole bean, and “rounds,” aka pods) as well as coffee subscriptions that bring coffee right to your door every month.
- DEVIL-DOG Dungarees – Founder Louis Rosenstock launched DEVIL-DOG Dungarees in 1948. Rosenstock served in the U.S. Army from 1917-1918 and chose the name DEVIL-DOG to honor the U.S. Marines and all armed forces.
- Grunt Style – Founded in 2009 by a former Army drill sergeant, Grunt Style is more than an apparel company. They also have a charitable foundation dedicated to supporting service members and veterans with resources that improve mental health, transition, food insecurity, and homelessness.
- Nike – Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Co-founder Phil Knight also served in the Army. He was on active duty for a year and served seven years in the Army Reserve.
- Randolph – The eyewear brand was founded by Former Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz and machinist Stanley Zaleski. In 1978, Randolph produced eyewear as a U.S. Military subcontractor.
- Shift.org – Shift is a career advancement company that helps current and former military members apply their military skills to civilian jobs. CEO Mike Slagh was a bomb disposal officer in the Navy and provided technical expertise to military units all over the world.
- Sperry – Paul A. Sperry founded Sperry Shoes. A Navy Reservist, he invented the world’s first boat shoe, the Top-Sider, in 1935.
- Walmart – Founder Sam Walton served in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps during World War II. He supervised security at aircraft plants and eventually reached the rank of captain.
Is ID.me Veteran Owned?
ID.me is a veteran-owned digital identity platform co-founded by CEO Blake Hall, a former Army ranger and Iraq War veteran.
Blake led a battalion reconnaissance platoon in Iraq in 2006-2007. His leadership during a firefight against insurgents saved 20 American lives and earned him a Bronze Star with Valor, a medal awarded to military members for acts of heroism during armed combat against an enemy.
10 More Brands That Are Veteran-Owned
Here are a few more unique brands that identify as veteran-owned companies.
- Combat Flip Flops – You can find flip flops, men’s and women’s apparel, and accessories like jewelry and headwear at Combat Flip Flops.
- Flags of Valor – Find decorative wooden American flags and other patriotic products that are all handmade in the U.S.A. by veterans.
- K9 Salute – This dog-loving company sells all-natural dog treats. A portion of its proceeds goes to support K9s and to help veterans get service dogs.
- Mr. Bacon – Do you dream of bacon? Then Mr. Bacon is for you. This veteran-owned company pledges to “make your bacon dreams a reality!” with its large assortment of cooked bacon in a variety of flavors.
- RECON Rings – One of the company’s founders witnessed a friend lose a finger in Iraq when his wedding band got caught on a door. That was the inspiration for RECON Rings, which sells silicone bands for active people.
- Rumi Spice – Saffron, dill seed, and fennel seed are just a few of the fragrant spices and blends you’ll find at Rumi Spice.
- The Skirted Soldier – This female-veteran-owned company sells a selection of beautiful hand-blended, loose teas.
- Stubble + ‘Stache – Check out the selection of men’s skincare and beard care products from this indie brand.
- Teak and Twine – Teak and Twine is the place to go when you’re looking for the perfect gift, whether that’s for a friend’s birthday, your company’s employees, or your clients. This company sells curated gift boxes and works with corporate clients, too.
FAQs About Veteran-Owned Businesses
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.
How Many Businesses Are Veteran-Owned?
The number of veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. is high: 2.51 million businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Survey of Business Owners (2012). Of those, 442,485 have employees, while the other 2.08 million businesses are sole proprietors or self-employed.
How Do You Classify a Business as Veteran-Owned?
Any business with one or more veterans as an owner may be considered “veteran-owned” by the general public. However, the government has specific criteria when it comes to classifying a business as “veteran-owned.”
For a business to qualify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), it must be at least 51% veteran-owned, the veteran(s) must have been honorably discharged after serving on active duty in one of the U.S. armed forces, and the veteran(s) must be actively involved in managing the company. The same requirements apply to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs), with the addition of proof of disability from the VA or the Department of Defense.
Many veterans seek out certification to verify their company’s status as veteran-owned, as this opens the doors to grants, contracting opportunities, support from the VA and the Small Business Administration (SBA), and more. The VA used to certify VOSBs and SDVOSBs, but that process has recently been taken over by the SBA.
How Successful Are Veteran-Owned Businesses?
Veteran-owned businesses make up 9.1% of all businesses in the U.S., employ 5.03 million people, and bring in $1.14 trillion.
Veteran-owned businesses are successful and make a significant contribution to U.S. commerce and economy.