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How San Diego's Veterans are Supporting the Innovation Economy

By Gustavo A De La Fuente   |    January 6, 2017   |    5:19 PM

We’ve all heard the comment about San Diego being a “military town”, but what do we know about our veteran population’s entrepreneurial bent?  I came across a very interesting article in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago where San Diego’s military entrepreneurial spirit was highlighted*.  We have almost 230,000 veterans in our County, more than any other metro area in the U.S.  Due to the contacts they have as well as security clearances, many veterans create companies that serve as government contractors and suppliers.  The Small Business Administration states that veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than those without active duty experience. 

Most of Intelligent Office’s clients do not say much about their life or business background when they sign up; however, as we’ve gotten to know them, my staff and I have found that our military veterans represent 10% of our customer base, whether government contractors, financial advisors, attorneys, physical therapists, or construction executives. 

Being a veteran does not exempt you from the challenges of starting up a business or taking the reins of an existing one.  There are a number of organizations that support veterans in their business pursuits.  Chiefly among them are SoCal Veterans Business Outreach Center in Carlsbad, the Rosie Network (Military Entrepreneur Development Center and Service2CEO), The Honor Foundation, and Fab Lab, with which Intelligent Office is somewhat familiar.  It is a non-profit community space in Makers Quarter that gives members access to tools and technology for digital manufacturing.  It offers an entrepreneur-in-residence program in which participants collaborate and mentor one another.  In exchange, they volunteer at least five hours per week at the lab. 

It is important that we realize that beyond nobly serving in foreign wars and conflicts, our military veterans are an active and vibrant part of our local economy. 


*”Veterans Help Make San Diego a Hub for Start-Ups”, by Eilene Zimmerman, New York Times, December 14, 2016.