Hiring a U.S. Veteran makes good business sense and cents, so a upstart nonprofit in Florida called Veterans’ Pathway to Business Success has set out to help war veterans become entrepreneurs.
Over the years, the average citizen hasn’t done enough to those that ensure our freedom, and I have to commend this organization for awarding entrepreneurial grant money to Veterans who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq post 9/11.
Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, the Executive Director of Veterans’ Pathway to Business Success, thinks they are really on to something.
“We are hoping to award 6-7 in our first year. As we get the word out, we ar efinding out that the support network for veterans is huge.”
This past week, Veterans’ Pathway awarded its first grant of the year, in the amount of $30,000. It went to a deserving recipient in Invictus, a Boynton Beach, Florida based security services firm founded and operated by two Iraq veterans.
From Veterans’ Pathway – a little on Invictus:
Invictus, a Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, was founded by former United States Marines, Patrick Miller and Phillip Noblin, Combat Veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Invictus is a growing South Florida company represented by a combined 50+ years of military, government security and private sector program management experience.
Invictus plans to use the grant to expand and create even more jobs.
“Following the grant we issued to an inspiring Veteran entrepreneur at the end of last year, Invictus is the first grant of 2013 and we have several more in the pipeline. We are actively reaching out to Veterans across Florida to encourage them to learn more about the Veterans’ Pathway grant program and how we can help them in their entrepreneurial efforts,” said Jerry Kramer, Founder and President of Veterans’ Pathway. Kramer continued, “More than 200,000 people are discharged from the U.S. military each year and this number is expected to grow. These veterans possess qualities that make good entrepreneurs: resourcefulness, a taste for risk-taking and a can-do attitude. The Invictus’ story is a great example of determination and perseverance and we are pleased to have the opportunity to assist in the growth and success of the business.”
Laurent-Ottomane feels strongly that veterans need to be encouraged to be entrepreneurs.
“They have lived a life that is always working towards a mission- whether it was to stay alive or keep fellow soldiers alive. They are people that don’t flinch from challenges. The military has instilled traits in them, and they can transfer that to the job of being an entrepreneur.”
Laurent-Ottomane also said that veterans only made up 6% of all new entrepreneurs last year, compared to 12% in 2000.
She also feels that although this program is only currently open to Florida residents, they have hopes to expand and they could be a model to nonprofits in other states.
The vital information:
Recipients of grants from Veterans’ Pathway are Veteran entrepreneurs who are hoping to start their own business or who have an established business and are seeking funding for expansion. The main requirements for receiving funding are for Veterans who:
Must have served in Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001;
Must have, or are eligible for, an honorable discharge;
Must reside in Florida and can provide proof of residency; and provide a detailed business plan for eventual approval by the Veterans’ Pathway Board of Directors.
. For more information, visit www.veteranspathway.org.