Virginia vet joins entrepreneurial ranks

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Print this page by Garry Kranz

Shortly after retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1995, Chief of Boat John Taylor assumed a new role: entrepreneur.

Since 1997, the 57-year-old Taylor and his wife, Margaret, have owned and operated two franchise offices of Liberty Tax Services in Virginia Beach, which also is the headquarters for the nationwide tax-preparation firm. “If you want to get into a business where you can make money by helping people and changing their lives, this is it,” Taylor says.

Taylor is among a growing number of veterans going into business for themselves. A report this year by the federal Small Business Administration says 9 percent of U.S. companies are owned by veterans. All told, an estimated 2.4 million veteran-owned companies provide jobs to nearly 6 million workers. By 2016, two million veterans are expected to enter the civilian workforce.

Liberty Tax Service has been ranked as one of the top franchisees for veterans.

In Virginia, Marine Corps Base Quantico is among four military bases helping to pilot a new SBA program aimed at entrepreneurial-minded vets. Known as Operation Boots to Business, SBA officials say the initiative will provide training, support and networking to soldiers looking to make the leap.

Another Virginia-based company, Bon Secours Virginia Health System, was recently recognized with the Work Life Legacy Military Award from the Families and Work Institute for supporting the transition of active-duty military and veterans into the civilian workforce.  Bon Secours recruits veterans at military-only career fairs and job websites and recently entered into a partnership with Hero Health Hire, a coalition of health care companies dedicated to helping disabled veterans secure and retain employment.

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