Mayor's Office Press Release

Houston Ranks as the #2 City in the U.S. for Veterans to Start, Manage and Grow Small Businesses

November 11, 2017 -- Thumbtack, the website and app where you can find a local professional for anything you need done, recently announced that Houston was one of the top cities in the U.S. for veterans to start a small business based on a survey of 1,300 veteran small business owners.

“We appreciate our veterans for not only defending our country, but they are also a vital part of the fabric of our business community,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We have thousands of veterans who have been able to use their military training while learning new skills in order to become successful entrepreneurs and role models.”

Top Five Cities for Veterans in the U.S.

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Houston
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Fort Worth, Texas
  5. Los Angeles

“Time and again, servicemen and women across the country have shared with us a main reason why they became entrepreneurs: their experience in the military carried over into a career in which they control their own destiny, sometimes by equipping them with the technical skills needed in their second career, but always by ensuring that they had the ‘soft skills’ so critical to running a small business,” said Thumbtack Economist Lucas Puente, PhD. “At Thumbtack, we celebrate the 2.5 million veterans who run their own small businesses in the U.S., and encourage local governmental leadership to ensure veterans pursuing this path have the resources they need to succeed.”

Veterans continue to do more than their fair share after leaving the military: More than one-in-four veterans in the workforce are running their own business, a rate that is 7.7 percentage points greater than the national average, according to the Census Bureau.

“We know what a lot of employers know – veterans make great employees. It is also true that veterans are natural entrepreneurs and make great business owners. For the past few years, our office has worked a variety of local partners to build programs in Houston to help Veterans launch their own businesses. This collaborative effort is bearing fruit and we are seeing more and more Veteran startups, which is helping to drive a strong local economy. My office will continue to do everything possible to guide and nurture Houston veteran entrepreneurs,” said Carl Salazar, Director of Veteran Affairs, Mayor’s Office.

As part of Thumbtack's 2017 Small Business Friendliness Survey, they asked 1,371 veteran-small-business-owners on Thumbtack to evaluate their local governments’ support for businesses like theirs to determine the best communities for veterans to start, manage and grow a small business.

The veterans interviewed for this study noted a military background alone isn’t sufficient to develop a thriving business; another factor they pointed to is a supportive community. While every business’ needs are different, the study indicates operating in a place where veteran-owned businesses are valued by clients, bankers, suppliers, and others can provide a leg up in the harrowing process of starting and growing a small business.

Sean Williams, a fence installer in Houston, called out the city for fostering a strong network of veterans. “The veteran community here is great," he said. "I have many friends who are veterans and own businesses. There are a lot of events and benefits that we participate in and meet a lot of people doing it.”

Top Occupations for Veterans on Thumbtack (as of November 2017)

  1. Handyman
  2. Landscaper / Lawncare Professional
  3. General Contractor
  4. Painter
  5. Plumber
  6. Outdoor Cleaner
  7. House Cleaner
  8. Junk Remover
  9. Electrician
  10. Window and Door Specialist
  11. Flooring Professional
  12. Carpenter
  13. Photographer
  14. Fence Installer
  15. Tiler
  16. Roofer
  17. Personal Trainer
  18. Furniture Assembler
  19. Concrete Professional
  20. Computer and Device Repair Specialist

*To locate veteran entrepreneurs to highlight, please reach out to Carl Salazar at Carl.Salazar@houstontx.gov and Darian Ward at Darian.Ward@houstontx.gov.