By Linda McMahon, SBA Administrator
Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Greg Lyles and his son Chandler, a retired USAF Airman, turned their love of barbecue into a successful business that has generated over $1 million in sales in the past year alone.
The idea for Lyles BBQ was sparked while the two were transitioning out of the military, but they knew they needed more resources and expertise to kindle their plan for a business. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s veteran entrepreneurial training course, Boots to Business, taught them to manage budgets and cash flow. Today, business is smokin’.
Lyles BBQ is just one of 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses in the United States. As we honor them this Veterans Day and thank them for their sacrifices, we at the SBA want all veterans and military families to know about the resources available to help them follow their military service with entrepreneurship.
Each year, more than 200,000 veterans connect with the SBA and its resource partners to start or expand small businesses. The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development helps veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, transitioning service members, and military spouses explore entrepreneurship through counseling and training, access to capital and access to government contracting opportunities. These groups can also connect with one of 20 Veterans Business Outreach Centers nationwide for help.
And experience tells us veterans make great entrepreneurs. Military experience equips them with leadership and management skills they can apply to their civilian careers. More than a third of veteran business owners say they learned directly relevant or transferable business skills while on active duty.
Many veterans report that owning a business is a way to continue their mission of serving others – first their country, then their local community. And we as a nation continue to benefit from their contributions. Veteran-owned small businesses generate $1.4 trillion in sales each year, making them an integral part of our nation’s economy and our identity.