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PenFed Foundation Study Highlights Top U.S. Cities for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Thursday, November 7, 2019  
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New York, Chicago and Seattle metro areas top the list.
Jacksonville, Denver and Kansas City are the top emerging metro areas for veteran entrepreneurs.

TYSONS, Va., November 7, 2019 – The PenFed Foundation, the charitable arm of PenFed Credit Union, today released new research highlighting the best cities for veterans to start and grow their businesses in the U.S. This research aims to support and inform the veteran business community and is presented by the PenFed Foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program, an initiative that supports and empowers veteran entrepreneurs with resources and capital to start and grow their businesses.

“In many ways, America’s military is a school in entrepreneurship. We teach service members leadership, drive, grit, creativity, stamina and perseverance in the face of high complexity and risk,” said General (Ret.) John W. Nicholson, Jr., president of the PenFed Foundation. “Through our Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program, we are helping hundreds of veterans a year fulfill their dreams of owning their own businesses by helping them write business plans; connecting them with mentors, partners and legal advisors; and making financial investments in majority-veteran-owned businesses through convertible notes.”

The best cities for veteran entrepreneurs include:

1.     New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area

2.     Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area

3.     Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area

4.     Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area

5.     San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metro Area

6.     Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area

7.     Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area

8.     Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area

9.     Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area

10.  Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metro Area

11.  Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area

12.  Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area

13.  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area

14.  Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area

15.  Columbus, OH Metro Area


The top emerging cities for veteran entrepreneurs are:

1.     Jacksonville, FL Metro Area

2.     Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area

3.     Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area

4.     San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area

5.     Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area

“PenFed Foundation is excited to share this information and celebrate the cities where veteran entrepreneurs can best succeed,” said Seda Goff, director of veteran entrepreneurship at PenFed Foundation. “A successful startup requires a lot of things, but one of the key factors is an ecosystem that supports new and growing businesses. Our hope is that this data will inform decision making and empower veteran entrepreneurs and communities to transform cities across America.”

Goff, who also serves as City Leader for Bunker Labs and teaches entrepreneurship at American University, developed the report in partnership with Edelman Intelligence. The study is part of the PenFed Foundation’s mission to help members of the military community secure their financial future. PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit providing service members, veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on entrepreneurship, financial education, credit-building, homeownership and short-term assistance.

The study ranked cities based on several key factor important to the success of veteran entrepreneurs, including:

      Support for veterans: The degree to which a city provides the foundation for a veteran to have support and the tools to be successful.

      Ability to start a business: The ability of a city to foster new business development and entrepreneurial success.

      Economic growth: The relative growth of a city across multiple economic indicators.

      Livability: The degree to which a city provides the amenities one looks for when choosing where to live

To ensure an objective ranking of best cities for veteran entrepreneurs, the study leveraged data sets provided through large scale reporting and official channels for analysis, offering a non-biased level of information for cities across the U.S. Additional data sources provided more nuanced detail around topics such as entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program, to donate or to apply for the program, visit

About PenFed Foundation
Founded in 2001, the PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. It provides service members, veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on entrepreneurship, financial education, credit-building, homeownership, and short-term assistance. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has the resources to effectively reach military communities across the nation, build strong partnerships, and engage a dedicated corps of volunteers in its mission. The credit union funds the Foundation’s personnel and most operational costs, demonstrating its strong commitment to the programs the Foundation provides. Equal Housing Opportunity. To learn more, visit

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