While there aren’t many fortune 500 companies founded by veterans, entrepreneurship is on the rise among veterans. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration as many as one in four veterans are interested in starting or buying their own business.
Although veteran’s posses many of the skills required to run a business, which makes them more than twice as likely to own a business as the general population, they also face many roadblocks that prevent them from becoming business owners.
Veterans face many challenges when it comes to starting their own business. The problems start when they return home and look towards transitional support programs to help them adjust to civilian life. The current programs offer training that focuses primarily on composing resumes, writing cover letters, and rehearsing for job interviews. While these training methods can help veterans find jobs, they spend little time covering topics important for becoming an entrepreneur like venture capital, bootstrapping, and finding a cofounder.
Luckily, dedicated veterans have been able to overcome this lack of education and become entrepreneurs thanks to men like Brandon Shelton, a former Army infantry and military intelligence officer, the founder of Task Force X Capital Management. Task Force X is one of many new venture capital firms that are working specifically with entrepreneur veterans.
Money from these venture capital firms can help veterans grow their businesses into fortune 500 companies like FedEx, which was founded by former marine Frederick Smith.
10 Noteworthy Startups Lead by Veteran a Entrepreneur
Mike Slagh, a former U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, cofounded Spark, a mobile app that seeks to help people learn to invest. The app provides users with daily market advice and stock trading tips. It also includes more in depth tools such as technical charting, fundamental data, and stock picks from popular traders. Spark recently recieved an investment from the venture capital company Social Leverage.
Founded by former U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer Nick Black, inKind is a platform where nonprofits can raise money to fill specific needs. By allowing people to fill nonprofit’s specific needs Black believes inKind can foster a more meaningful and personal connection between donors and nonprofits. They work primarily with Habitat for Humanity and other brick and mortar projects where donation of specific items is easier, but have recently been working on serving more vertical markets thanks to capital from Task Force X.
Founded by Anthony Garcia, a former U.S. Army helicopter aviator, GuideOn is a platform that helps veteran’s translate their military knowledge into language that can be recognized by corporate recruiters. The company’s first product allows users to input their military service details and have it instantly “translated” into a professional civilian resume. GuideOn recently received an unknown amount of funding from Floodgate to help fund the development of its products.
Founded by General Ray Smith and Sergeant Sam Meek of the U.S. Marine Corps, Sandboxx is an app that lets families and friends send physical mail and photos to service members directly from their mobile device. The app also helps veterans to stay connected with one another when they return home from active duty. Sandboxx recently received a $700,000 venture capital investment and is seeking an additional $1,300,000 to continue developing the product.
Cofounded in 2012 by Mike Murphy, a former officer in the U.S. Army, ProctorFree provides a new way for teachers to administer and supervise online exams. The company now has more than 25 employees and is working to partner with new educational partners. They hope to grow their business to create a better and more uniform system for the increasing number of students obtaining degrees online. ProctorFree recently received a venture capital investment through Task Force X that will help to bring the product to more students across the country.
6) Rumi Spice
Founded by Kimberly Jung, a former Officer and Platoon leader for the U.S. Army, Rumi Spice is a social enterprise that imports saffron from farmers and cooperative in Afghanistan. Jung hopes to create economic opportunity for the farmers in Afghanistan by connecting them to international markets. She hopes that this will give people the opportunity to build a positive future. Rumi Spice is currently seeking a $1,000,000 venture capital investment.
Cofounded by Nick Taranto, a former infantry officer in the US Marine Corps, Plated is a New York City startup that delivers chef-designed recipes with pre-portioned ingredients on a weekly basis. Plated has become one of the major players in the ready to cook food delivery industry by providing ultra high quality ingredients for specific meals. Plated has raised more that $56,000,000 in venture capital funds.
Cofounded by Dave Cass, a former soldier in the U.S. Navy, David Parker, a former soldier in the U.S. Air Force, and Bo Bergstrom, a former U.S. Marine, Uvize is a platform that helps match students with mentors. Uvize provides services specifically to help veterans prepare for college and learn new relevant skills. They believe that their program will help lower the dropout rates among veterans in higher education by providing them with mentors that understand their struggles. Uvize has raised more that $1,000,000 from venture capital investors.
9) Sword & Plough
Founded by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Emily Nunez Cavness, Sword & Plough is an accessory company that uses repurposed military surplus fabric into stylish bags. Sword & Plough also helps to support other veterans by working with veteran owned and operated manufacturers. Cavness received a $50,000 venture capital investment from MassChallenge to help grow the business.
Founded by Zach Scheel and Drew DeWalt, both former U.S. Navy officers, Rhumbix is a mobile platform that is designed to provide insights on construction sites. Using their previous experience working on construction sites Scheel and DeWalt created an application that uses real-time data to help site managers with timekeeping and cost management. The app clocks time worked and the locations of workers across a construction site. Rhumbix is designed to scale and can work on construction sites ranging from a few dozen workers to those with thousands. Rhumbix recently raised $6,130,000 with the help of venture capital firm Greylock Partners.
AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. The helping hand that AMVETS extends to veterans and their families takes many forms.
One of the most visible is our network of trained national service officers (NSOs) accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Funded by the AMVETS National Service Foundation, these dedicated men and women can be found in close to 40 states, providing sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to the veteran.
In one recent year alone, AMVETS national service officers processed more than 24,000 claims that resulted in veterans receiving some $400 million in compensation. This commitment to service traces its roots back to 1948, when our NSOs first began helping veterans of World War II to obtain the benefits promised them by the federal government.
For more information: http://www.amvets.org/
As 2015 drew to a close, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act to appropriate funds for military spending in 2016. Although it is a standard and often uneventful peace of legislation, the act came with a special Christmas gift for military service animals. Within the hundreds of pages that made up the bill, there was a provision that will allow military service dogs to return home to the United States for retirement. Previously, military service animals were ineligible for transport back to the U.S. and were often placed in local shelters.
This marks a huge victory for both animal rights groups and veterans care groups who have long been fighting to give military animals a proper and happy retirement. Their service to military operations and personnel is often overlooked despite their incredible life saving contributions. In fact, according to the American Humane Association, each military service dog saves the lives of between 150-200 service men by detecting IEDs and hidden weapons caches.
The law also goes beyond simply bringing these heroic dogs home, it gives the military handlers the first choice in adoptions of these dogs. This makes a huge difference to veterans who have returned home and are struggling to adjust to civilian life. Having a K9 companion who has experienced many of the same traumatic experiences can help veterans combat conditions like PTSD. This offers many retired military dogs the ability retire in comfort while continuing to serve the struggling veterans they love.
“The NDAA and its passage will ensure that our four-legged veterans will finally have their chance to come home and live a comfortable quiet life, hopefully with a handler they deployed with or a fellow veteran.” – Lance Corporal Jeff DeYoung, USMC (Ret.) who was reunited with his military dog Cena (From the American Humane Newsroom)
Credit goes to Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat from Missouri, and Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Republican from New Jersey, who introduced the provision.
This past weekend of college football brought with it one of the most deep-seated rivalries, the Army vs. Navy game. The game is one of the longest running rivalries in sports dating back to 1890. It all began when Cadet Dennis Mahan Michie, who was also the coach of the Army football team, accepted a challenge from the Naval Academy. The game has been played nearly every year since then with only a few years missed due to war or a dispute between the two academies.
This years 125th anniversary of the rivalry saw the continuation of the Navy’s win streak of 14 games against Army. The win streak is the longest in the history of a rivalry that has consistently gone back and forth between two great teams. Three games into their current winning streak Navy took over the series lead against Army. The Series record now stands at 60-49-7 with Navy winning 60 games, Army winning 49 games, and 7 ties.
The game holds a particularly important spot in college football marking the end of the regular season. It was originally played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which was the end of most college regular season games, but it has been moved to the weekend following the conference championship games. It marks the final game of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy which is awarded to the winner of the triangular series between the Military Academy, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy. The winner of the Army v. Navy game also receives the Thompson Cup.
As you sit down for dinner with you family this Thanksgiving be thankful for all that your family has, but also be thankful for the sacrifices made by veterans and current active duty military members. Everyday members of the armed forces sacrifice spending time with their own families to protect our nation. Honor their service by acknowledging their sacrifices this holiday season. As you give thanks to those who serve our country also remember to take special advantage of the time you spend with your family during the holidays. Remember that those who serve do so to ensure that you can spend time with your family without worry.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving from Vets Vehicles and remember, the freedom you enjoy isn’t free. Be thankful for veterans.
As you celebrate your father today, also think of the countless active duty service members and veterans who sacrificed time with their children to serve our country during Father’s Day. Today is a happy time but also difficult time for many families around the country who are celebrating fathers overseas or the memory of those who have passed while serving our nation.
Watch this Huffington Post Live segment about issues facing enlisted parents and the challenges facing new veterans returning to families they have left at home. We want to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to all the great fathers out there who support and love their children every day.
Happy Flag Day ! Did you know there is certain flag etiquette for the care and handling of the American Flag? This year when you raise your flag in honor of Flag Day, remember to cover these basic practices:
- The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
- In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
- The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
- The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
- After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s called “half staff” on land ,and “half mast” on a ship.
- When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or “union”, is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
- The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
- The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
- Never let your flag touch the ground, never…period.
- Fold your flag when storing. Don’t just stuff it in a drawer or box.
- When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.
As a symbol of our nation’s unity and independence, Flag Day is an important holiday for Americans to honor the adoption of the American flag and its makers. Raise your flag and commemorate this important day!
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re publishing recent important statistics about women in America from the U.S. Census Bureau. While women continue to make strides in income, skilled occupations and education in this country, there is still room for gains in equality. To all the women out there – especially those women who have served in the military – we salute you!
- Power in Numbers: In 2013, approximately 4 million women inhabited the United States alongside approximately 2 million men. That means women outnumber men by a ration of 2:1!
- The Capitol of Women: The state with the highest percentage of women is the District of Columbia, where 52.6% of inhabitants are female.
- The Best Medicine: One of the skilled occupations that has seen the greatest growth in women workers is pharmacy work. The number of women who are trained and work as pharmacists has quadrupled since 1970. While only 12.1% of pharmacists used to be women, starting in 2006, over half of all pharmacists were women.
- Earning Inequality: The median annual income of women working full-time as of 2013 was $39,157, while men earned an average of $50,033 a year.
- Food For Thought: In fall 2013, 56.2% of all college students (undergraduate and graduate) were women. That’s approximately 10.9 million women who are on their way to earning degrees and entering the workforce.
Photo courtesy of www.va.gov.
When we imagine veterans we usually conjure an image of a man coming back from Afghanistan. Rarely do we think of a woman. But the stark reality is that women make up more than 16% of the total Army, the largest portion in history. That’s over 13,000 women veterans who will soon be returning home to their families, friends and civilian life.
Iraq War Veteran, Nadine Noky, came home from Iraq in 2007 and identified the lack of casual clothing available to female veterans who wished to represent their veteran status. This lack pointed to an overall one-sided interpretation of the veteran image.
“Many women vets don’t self-identify as veterans. Some don’t even know they are veterans. They just don’t associate themselves with the idea of it the way men do,” Noky said in an article from BuzzFeed.
Noky quickly decided to fix this need herself: she learned to screen print t-shirts and started designing her own veteran apparel for women. In 2014 she founded her company Lady Brigade. She personally designs and prints all the t-shirts featured, runs the website and blog and also personally packages and sends each shirt to customers.
Prior to Lady Brigade, Noky served as a Radar Technician in the U.S. Army from 2002-2007. She even re-deployed to Iraq in 2005, only four months after she gave birth to her son, Sean. She really is a super hero.
Along with designing apparel for women veterans and service members, Noky is also organizing the first ever Women Veterans Conference to “offer quality services and programs” for women vets and “ensure they have the resources and ability to lead healthy and productive lives”. The conference will be held from April 17-19 in Sarasota Florida.
A new video launched by BuzzFeed titled, “Awkward Things People Say to Soldiers,” shows a soldier’s homecoming and the reactions he receives from friends and acquaintances. The video is thought-provoking and opens the conversation about the stereotypes returning soldiers face. Like the popular film, American Sniper, real-life depictions such as these are changing the way we look at soldiers and veterans in popular culture from individuals plagued with problems to normal citizens. Help advance the conversation: watch and share BuzzFeed’s video below.