The PenFed Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) founded by PenFed Credit Union, announced the findings of its annual study on the top U.S. cities for veteran entrepreneurs. The PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP), which supports veteran-owned startups and businesses through access to networks and capital, conducted the study in partnership with Edelman Intelligence.
According to the 2022 study, for the second year in a row, Washington, D.C., New York, and Seattle proved to be the top cities for veterans to start their businesses. The top emerging cities, or those that made the most progress since the PenFed Foundation’s 2021 study, include Sioux Falls, Tampa, Cincinnati and Rapid City. The study analyzed four main categories for each city: livability, economic growth, support for veterans and the ability to start a business. As the nation navigates the economic impacts of inflation, the study focused primarily on how inflation impacts cities differently.
“The military community’s resilience and entrepreneurial spirit are invaluable for our nation’s business sector. That’s why PenFed is proud to commission this study for the third year in a row, highlighting the cities that are making strides to support veteran businesses,” said PenFed Credit Union President/CEO and PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck. “We want to help cities across the United States understand which environments are best suited for military veterans to start and grow businesses and inspire city leaders to take the actions needed to support veteran entrepreneurs.”
“Additionally, veteran-owned businesses often hire more veterans, so supporting veteran entrepreneurs provides more jobs and opportunities for the greater military community, who have served as PenFed’s base of membership since 1935,” added Schenck.
The top 20 cities for veteran entrepreneurs include:
1) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area
2) New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area
3) Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area
4) Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area
5) Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area
6) Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area
7) Sioux Falls, SD Metro Area
8) Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area
9) Rapid City, SD Metro Area
10) Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area
11) Raleigh, NC Metro Area
12) Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area
13) Madison, WI Metro Area
14) Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area
15) Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area
16) Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area
17) Columbus, OH Metro Area
18) Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area
19) Jacksonville, FL Metro Area
20) McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area
The top four emerging cities for veteran entrepreneurs are:
1) Sioux Falls, SD Metro Area
2) Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area
3) Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area
4) Rapid City, SD Metro Area
The study used a custom scoring algorithm based on a robust quantitative data set from existing PenFed partners and openly available data sources. The data painted the complete picture of veteran support, city characteristics and entrepreneurship ability across the U.S.
VEIP has a three-pronged approach to create a robust network for veteran-owned startups and businesses:
- Education through virtual and in-person workshops;
- Preparation through the master’s program, a yearlong fundraising accelerator, and Ignition Challenges; and
- Investment of seed capital, providing access to other capital investment programs and connecting entrepreneurs to funders.
Since 2018, the PenFed Foundation VEIP has accelerated over 350 veteran-owned startups and helped educate over 4,700 veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs.
To learn more about the PenFed Foundation’s work with veteran entrepreneurs or to donate to the Foundation, please visit penfedfoundation.org.
Source: PenFed Foundation