Veterans have been hailed for their unique leadership skills often gained while completing their service in the military, and the ways in which that acumen can be applied to business ownership. Nonprofit groups, private businesses and government officials alike have been pushing for more projects to boost entrepreneurship in the veteran community, especially as this is one of the more effective ways to combat unemployment among service members.
Last month, ride sharing giant Uber announced that following the completion of its initial UberMilitary program, which saw 50,000 veterans sign up to become drivers, the firm is setting its eyes on real economic improvements for the group, Fox News reported. The source stated that Uber intend to inject about $500 million into the veteran community through the end of the decade. Other programs, including those that produce more traditional entrepreneurs, are also making a big difference on the national level.
Launching new companies
Washington Square News, New York University's school news paper, recently reported that the second class from the Veteran Entrepreneur Training program has graduated, and four startups are already set to be launched by the graduates. The university has been working with Brooklyn's Chamber of Commerce, which initiated the Veteran Entrepreneur Training program, for several years.
The source pointed out that the 10-week course is specifically tailored to veterans, and teaches students a range of business management skills. Interestingly, the school has also been involved in sustainable energy-related projects that work specifically toward the encouragement of more startups that yield green innovations. Washington Square News noted that the Energy Economic Department was established by a veteran who graduated the program and now help businesses become more environmentally friendly.
"The mission is to advance America's energy profile into the new millennium," James Hendon told the school newspaper. "It's one thing if you have this great idea in your mind; it's another thing when you speak to other people about it and they give you feedback and they force you to be very disciplined in how you analyze your ability to make it successful, to make it profitable, for it to work and achieve your grand mission."
Another graduate created a startup devoted to supporting veteran-run breweries, and this is not the first service member foray into the craft brew arena.
A thriving industry
MilitaryTimes reported that veterans are highly involved in the craft brewery industry today, which has been one of the healthiest of all in the United States, noting that one study from the Brewers Association estimated an 18 percent increase in sales in 2014 alone. The source cited several success stories from veterans who have cultivated a strong business with their craft beers, including one brand that had a $5 million investment tag and $17.5 million in revenue through the first three years.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and other government agencies can also provide veteran entrepreneurs with resources needed to get the startups off of the ground and into action.