Veterans not starting own businesses like they once did

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Monday, November 12, 2012 - 5:22pm

A new report from the Kauffman Foundation shows that veterans starting their own businesses has been declining for the past 20 years.

Last year, veterans made up only 6% of all new entrepreneurs -- down from 12% in 1996.

KETK spoke with Vietnam era veteran Roger Gerick, owner of a succesful trucking business based here in East Texas.

Gerick says unlike what what he and some others went through, most of the soldiers coming home today have been in high stress combat situations and deal with a lot mentally.

Also, the seed money is harder to get.

"In the '80s, I already had seed money from businesses I had run before.  And it wasn't that big a leap to buy a truck.  Your partner buys a truck, you got two trucks, you got a business," Gerick said.

Gerick tells KETK, if veterans don't try it, they may regret it later.

"Sometimes they're just so busy earning a living, that they really don't have any time to make any money," Gerick said.

Tyler Junior College held a Veterans Day Picnic on Monday where retired Major General John T. Furlow spoke about veteran entrepreneurship.

He's currently a CPA in Tyler and he holds an annual 'boot camp' at TJC for veterans or their families wanting to start a business.

He says brighter days are ahead.

"10 to 20 years, you're going to see more veteran owned businesses that are in this area.  Because like I said in my speech earlier, what put us on the map in this great country was the veterans that came back from World War II and made this country what it was economically," Furlow said.

A survey of veterans who left the service between 2004 and 2006, showed 48% used the current GI Bill which gives them a college education and career instruction.

Click here for CNN's write up about this topic.

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