Three manuscripts on the role of entrepreneurial ecosystems in supporting the resiliency and growth of military veteran-owned firms in the rural United States.


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Entrepreneurship can be a pathway of opportunity for military veterans, as well as provide economic growth for rural communities. However, because of public data limitations, there is no research on the relationship between veteran-owned firms and rural entrepreneurial ecosystems. The resiliency and growth of military veteran-owned firms in rural America may be predicated on the conditions of their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Using the available public data, this dissertation sets the conditions for future work. To the extent available identification will be made of ecosystem conditions that are conducive to veteran-owned firm growth, resiliency, and death. Quantifiable characteristics include individual, spatial, cultural, policy, and temporal factors. Ultimately, this product will drive future efforts with restricted federal microdata below the state or commuting zone level in the Texas Federal Statistical Research Data Center, United States Census Bureau. I address the relationship between a military veteran and their entrepreneurial ecosystem with three project outcomes that will be addressed in three linked manuscripts. These manuscripts will use descriptive statistics and visualization, logistic regression, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), and spatial econometrics. The use of HLM and spatial econometrics takes into consideration the nuances of local conditions that are traditionally lost in high-level aggregation. In this way, I will statistically simulate the effect of an entrepreneurial culture as well as geographic space and time. These variables include traditional measures of an entrepreneurial ecosystem (such as percent self-employed or industry agglomeration), as well as new measures that are relevant to veteran-owned firms and are created through data mining (like the presence of veteran service organizations or locally oriented community banks). The contribution of this dissertation is new knowledge for community development stakeholders to assess the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as facilitate community support for benchmarked factors that, if present, will assist in the growth and resiliency of veteran-owned firms. This dissertation is also an initial foray into the effect of space on military veteran reintegration after service. Ultimately, targeted research on this subgroup will improve research on inclusive economic development for other subgroups. Sustainability of this dissertation is fortified by a) publishing new knowledge in peer-reviewed academic journals, b) informing the data-driven development of a localized curriculum for Cooperative Extension agents to utilize, c) supporting NGO stakeholders in helping individuals attain economic independence through entrepreneurial success, and d) using information gained to develop future models of entrepreneurial ecosystems.



Military veteran entrepreneurship. Rural communities. Entrepreneurial ecosystems.