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Loyalty and Rewards

Why “Vetrepreneurs” Play a Key Part in Supplier Diversity

Remember the old Army recruitment campaign from the 1980s that insisted soldiers “do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day?” Well, this really is more than just an effective use of hyperbole; it’s symbolic of the old-fashioned work ethic instilled through military training and service. 

The lessons learned and lived in military service like leadership, teamwork, competitive spirit, mission-orientation, and ambition are the same needed to succeed in business. Successful veteran business owners make exceptional, competent, and efficient suppliers that are becoming an increasingly integral component of every large corporation’s supply chains.

In fact, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association began making the case for veterans in corporate supplier diversity back in 2007. At that time, there were fewer than 100 FORTUNE 1000 firms that included veterans as diverse suppliers. That has changed dramatically over the past decade, and now more than 435 of the world’s largest corporations are eager to buy veteran.


This creates an incredible opportunity for veterans that is largely still unknown to most. For example, many “vetrepreneurs” familiar with advantages for veteran-owned businesses are aware that America’s federal government is the world’s single largest purchaser of goods and services, and is required by law to purchase 3 percent of contract dollars with service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. Last fiscal year, that translated into a more than $15 billion of opportunity.

But that federal opportunity pales in comparison to the potential for vetrepreneurs selling to all of corporate America. That’s right, that same 3 percent of what is purchased by corporations translates into more than $90 billion in opportunity. Innovative tech juggernaut Apple, retail giants like Lowe’s and Target, and consumer products mainstays like Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson all buy veteran because it’s good business. 

To top if off, veteran-owned companies hire more veterans as employees, so supporting veterans’ entrepreneurship symbiotically elevates veteran employment, helping deliver two positive results for the veteran community.

The bottom line is simple: Doing business with veterans boosts the bottom line.

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