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Small Business Thrive in Down Economy

If you're coming out of the service and looking for a civilian job beware: Getting a job in today's job market is a little dicey. With mass layoff and hiring freezes, it's hard to get your foot in the door of a potential employer, and there's a lot of competition for vacant jobs. The national unemployment rate reached 9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is the highest it's been in 10 years.

Don't panic, there is a way for transitioning servicemembers to see their way out of the job market mess:  Become a small business owner. Even though the down economy forced a lot of large businesses to layoff workers, or worse shutter, a lot of enterprising job seekers have taken it upon themselves to capitalize on their talents and become small business owners.

Dr. Laurence E. Goss a professor at Massachusetts-based Salem State College collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis and found that the number of self-employed proprietors and micro-businesses increased 17.7 percent and 15.6 percent respectively during the beginning of the recession in 2006. The data also revealed that self-employment grew seven times faster than wage-and-salary employment during the recession.

"Recessions traditionally produce an increase in proprietors as laid-off workers opt for self-employment," says Dr. Goss in a press release.

Christian Conroy, director of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) also believes that economic woes spur entrepreneurial activity, which is empowering for unemployed Americans.

"History supports that new firms emerge during times of economic turbulence when unemployment is high and the entrepreneurially minded seize the opportunity to start companies," Conroy said in SBDC statement.

Additionally, as a veteran or transitioning servicemember you have a wealth of resources available to you to help you get your small businesses off the ground. Here's a list of some of the programs available to get you started:

Veterans Business Development
Services aimed at helping veteran small business owners.

Veterans Business Development Officers
Find your nearest representative.

National Guard & Reserve Members Resources
Resources for small businesses that employ or are owned by military reservists or members of the National Guard

Veteran's Small Business Resource Guide
For small business owners returning from an active tour as part of a reserve obligation. Call 202-205-6773 for more info.

PRO-Net
Learn how PRO-Net can help grow your business.

VetGazette
A quarterly newsletter provides veteran entrepreneurs with up-to-date news & information.

Military.com's Veterans Career Network
Connect with other veteran small business owners to get an idea of what you need to get started.

For more information about careers in the federal government or in the private sector, visit Military.com's Veterans Career Center.

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