Paul Gregory came up with the idea for an incubator to help veterans start and operate their own enterprises while attending the TechStars Patriot Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. last summer. Mr. Gregory, a Navy veteran and owner of TransLife Energy Solutions, was invited to participate in the special event. There, Mr. Gregory saw a presentation by VETransfer, an award winning incubator in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He realized the need for a similar incubator in Colorado. This led to the new nonprofit – Veterans Incubator of Colorado Corporation.
After months of discussion and planning hosted by the Regis Entrepreneur Club at Regis University, the new organization was formed.
Recently, a senior staffer at the Veterans Administration said, “the government and VA simply don’t have the resources to address the needs of all the veterans who will soon be released from service. It is going to take a collaboration of private / public entities to step forward in this effort”. The Veterans Incubator of Colorado Veterans is intended to meet this need.
According to Mr. Gregory, “Starting a business instead of getting a job is a new focus for veterans leaving the military. Veterans as a group, tend to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. Most simply need to have a business framework applied to the key skills they gained while in service.
As currently planned, Veterans Incubator of Colorado will offer the following services: mentor matching, space matching, vendor discounts and entrepreneurship education. By using state of the art training, best in class mentors, and a program designed to encourage self-dependence, the success rate for the businesses started by veterans will be much higher than statistical norms.
Every new veteran owned business has the potential to create multiple job opportunities for other vets. Supporting new veteran businesses has the potential for major positive impact on Colorado’s economy.”
The Veterans Incubator of Colorado does not intend to do everything by itself. It intends to collaborate – reaching out to other veterans’ organizations, entrepreneur groups, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations and even other incubators. With no physical space of its own, it intends to work with any available office, shop, laboratory and warehouse space available across Colorado. Twelve week intensive, immersive boot camps will be held in commercial offices seeking new tenants. As soon as the curriculum design is completed and tested, the Veterans Incubator of Colorado will team with a local group in different cities.
Current efforts are focused on raising charitable contributions to hire an executive director and launch operations.