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Many veterans are the embodiment of the American dream — pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, serving their country and moving on to create a thriving business from nothing.
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But success is not guaranteed. Starting your own venture and growing it beyond the launch requires tenacity, persistence and a lot of patience. Without a blueprint and support, it can be isolating and challenging to start a business, especially for veterans accustomed to structure, comrades and clearly defined roles.
Fortunately, veterans possess the discipline and drive to achieve their goals. Here are six organizations that help them:
Bunker Labs provides programs and courses to help veterans and their spouses start and grow businesses. There are four free programs: Veterans in Residence, CEOcircle, Ambassador and Breaking Barriers. Bunker Labs holds events throughout the country to build military entrepreneurship communities.
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Blake Hogan, a former Marine and CEO of Bunker Labs, told AARP Veteran Report, “Many veterans are unsure where to turn for business advice or where to find professional networks. Bunker Labs bridges that divide and provides space for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs to come together.”
Hivers & Strivers Capital
Named after the West Point term “hive,” meaning someone who overachieves, this capital fund invests in military veteran founders who do the same.
Veterans who seek funding and exude qualities of a “hive” to do whatever it takes to succeed can turn to Hivers & Strivers Capital. Founded by former Army intelligence officer Doug Doan, Hivers & Strivers only invests in companies led by U.S. veterans.
The Entrepreneur’s Source
More than 150 coaches, many of them veterans, are available free to help veterans who provide their contact information to The Entrepreneur’s Source.
Veterans and coaches connect virtually. They identify goals by exploring all options from starting a business from scratch to buying an existing business to weighing the pros and cons of various franchise concepts.
Tamara Loring, head of brand ideology for The Entrepreneur’s Source, told AARP Veteran Report, “If the veteran is willing to invest in themselves, we are willing to invest in them. We will work with them and help them reach clarity about whether or not entrepreneurship is right for them.”
Boots to Business
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) offer entrepreneurial training, coaching and mentorship to help veterans develop and analyze business plans.
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