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Why Military Spouses Deserve Your Business

March 16, 2021
Written by Jaime Chapman

The Nation’s freedom is defended by members of the Armed Forces - and in a silent role, U.S. military spouses support those service members. Many military households require dual income to cope with high cost of living yet secure employment for spouses continues to be an enduring sacrifice within the military community. Military spouse unemployment is four times the national average, pre-pandemic. Military families give up a lot in the name of freedom, from constant relocations, time away from family, to military spouses facing long-term career instability. Your support of a military spouse owned business directly impacts military families.

Let’s Talk Numbers

12.2 Million - Military Spouses in total, defined as the spouse of a veteran or currently serving member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

18.8 Million - Veterans. Nearly 60% are married equating to approximately 11.2 million veteran spouses.

1 Million - (<-- check that link out, WOW) Spouses of currently serving Active Duty, Guard and Reserve service members.

24% - Military Spouse unemployment rate. -- This crisis-level percentage was pre-pandemic! Estimates for post pandemic are as high as 35%, but we do not have clear data.

Currently employed military spouses are related to an increase spousal support to stay in the military.

Lifetime Earnings Lost

Military spouses lose on lifetime earnings during the peak season of their careers, impacting the spouse for life, especially when considering lost interest for retirement savings. The societal cost of severe military spouse unemployment is estimated at over $1 billion and despite nearly 90% of military spouses having some college, spouses earn less than their civilian counterparts. 

Financial stability is the crux of the American Dream, yet military spouses have fallen behind their peers in the rat race. Lost income compounds over time impacting spouses beyond active duty, transition, and into retirement. One military spouse reported: “Conservatively, I have fallen behind on my 401k contributions by about $40,000 for someone my age.”

Nearly Half of Military Spouses Are Entrepreneurs

Traditional employment is not the only career avenue for a professional military spouse. With nearly half of military spouses turning to entrepreneurship, the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce (MSCC) is rallying behind this underrepresented and diverse demographic.

Approximately 48% of military spouses turn to self-employment or business ownership during their careers due to employment hardships resulting from the transient military lifestyle. Business ownership is a viable solution for many unemployed military spouses.

There has never been formal recognition of the military spouse owned business despite the extraordinary interest in entrepreneurship. To fill this gap, the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce created the first of its kind Military Spouse Owned Enterprise Certification.

For the first time in history, “military spouse owned” is on the map alongside the woman, minority, LGBTQ+, and veteran owned business categories. MSCC is advocating for national recognition of the military spouse owned category from the Billion Dollar Roundtable in the private sector, to the government on Capitol Hill.

As a Chamber of Commerce and 501(c)(6) nonprofit, MSCC is uniquely positioned to represent military spouse business owners through advocacy. While MSCC is not politically affiliated, the team tackles policy issues that directly impact military spouse business and is working to improve the quality of life for the military spouse business owner.

Military Spouses Hire More Military Spouses

When one member of the military spouse tribe finds success, they spread the joy to their peers. Stephanie Brown, CEO of the U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce, believes that economically empowering military business owners is a solution that kills two birds with one stone. 

“Veteran and military spouse business owners are 10x more likely to hire fellow veterans and spouses. By empowering these individuals with meaningful training and mentorship, we are impacting their families, their communities, and our nation’s economy.”

Stephanie Brown | CEO, U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce


Why You Should Support Military Spouse Owned Businesses

“Traditional employment initiatives only account for half of military spouses. To move the needle on military spouse unemployment, we must focus energy on the other half of the equation, self-employment.” Jaime Chapman, COO, Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce

Jaime Chapman | COO, U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce

Large and small organizations can support military spouse entrepreneurs by formally recognizing the Military Spouse Owned Enterprise Certification and tracking supplier diversity spend with these businesses. By economically supporting a military spouse business through B2B enterprise, it directly supports the service member. Hiring a Military Spouse Owned Enterprise directly increases quality of life for military families in an impactful way.

More importantly, the average consumer can shop military spouse by checking out Rosie’s List, a business directory featuring over 50,000 military family-owned businesses.

Jaime Chapman

Jaime Chapman is the COO and Co-Founder of the U.S. Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce, and the Founder & CEO of Begin Within, a staffing agency on a mission to place U.S. military spouses in “careers” and not jobs. She created the Military Spouse Center of Excellence™ consulting program to...

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