On Veterans Day, we take time to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Our veterans are noted for their bravery, skill, duty and sacrifice.

But did you know that veterans are also an important part of the small business community?

As shown in our latest infographic, veterans make up eight percent of the U.S. population, but they own 9.2 percent of all companies in America. Veterans are twice as likely to own a business as non-veterans!

A second act for skills gained in the military

Veterans with 20 or more years of service have higher rates of self-employment, with military officers the most likely to become self-employed. Vets tend to enter into professional, scientific and technical services, likely in line with the skills they acquired in their military service. Construction is another popular industry for veterans going into small business.

Many vets use their military experience to pivot into consulting services. Laurie Sayles Artis is one of them: after 10 years as a United States Marine, she opened Civility Management Solutions to assist government as well as commercial-sector clients with administrative, grants-management and leadership services. SCORE mentors and workshops helped Artis prepare to apply for the 8(a) Business Development Program which helps her company compete for major contracts.

Veterans and their employees make huge contributions to small business

Veteran-owned firms employ 5.8 million employees which contribute to $1.1 trillion annually in sales. Vets are also 50 percent more likely than non-veterans to own two or more firms, according to Small Business Administration data.

When it comes to business funding, veterans are overwhelmingly self-sufficient, with almost 70 percent relying on personal or family savings and assets. There are programs available to help veterans entering the small business world find funding and discover business opportunities, from the SBA’s Boots to Business program to initiatives from the Office of Veterans Business Development.

And don’t forget about SCORE mentors! Many volunteer mentors have military experience of their own, and they can share a mutual understanding of veterans’ challenges along with business guidance.