See how U.S. veteran businesses are sweetening the American economy with military experience and leadership skills
Did you know that 25 percent of post-September 11th veterans want to start their own business?
While 90 percent of business executives claim it is difficult to find top talent for their growing organizations, the solution seems more than obvious. Veterans’ long list of qualifications include goal-oriented focus, leadership experience, discipline, strong motivation, being outspoken, willingness to collaborate, and boasting an overall great work ethic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration says that veterans are 45 percent more likely than non-veterans to start their own business. On average, additionally, vets have a higher five-year success rate on new ventures than civilian counterparts.
Inspiring Vetrepreneurship Stories
Take a glimpse at three notable military entrepreneurs and veteran businesses and what their stellar veteran businesses are up to.
The founders of Fire Department Coffee, Luke Schneider and Mark Williams, have a combined 25 years of military and public service experience.
Schneider, a Navy veteran turned firefighter paramedic, and Williams, a combat vet turned firefighter, have embarked on a mission to serve, unite, and give back. Fire Department Coffee is committed to supporting fellow veterans, service men and women, and country. With each coffee purchase, a portion is donated to military and service organizations—all while redefining the coffee industry.
The company introduced the first collection of spirit-infused coffee this month, including three distinct bourbon, tequila, and rum-infused coffees, each with its own unique flavor and aroma.
When Air Force Officer Matt Butler—an active duty Air Force Officer who has served 19 years—first conceptualized Rollors between deployments. He turned to his local veterans to help construct the wooden disks and cone-shaped targets for his award-winning outdoor game.
Today, the company is nationally known for the game and Butler employs veterans in nearly every aspect of the company.
Sworkit recently made Shark Tank history by landing the largest tech deal in the show’s history. The free Sworkit app is just like having your own personal trainer at your fingertips. With this app, former U.S. Air Force pilot and squadron commander has eliminated every excuse not to exercise.
Once Sworkit users opt for a particular type of workout and set the length of time they’d like to exercise, the app assembles real-time individual circuits to meet a vast range fitness needs. The exercises are stored in a helpful personal “workout playlist” that can be shared, modified, and edited at any time.
Familiar Vetrepreneurship Startups
If you’ve heard of Plated, RallyPoint, RedOwl, or Black Rifle Coffee Company, these rapidly-growing startups are also at least 50 percent owned by or operationally controlled by military veteran founders.
Founded in 2012, Plated has gone on to become a household name when it comes to meal delivery. The company is on a mission to use data and technology to enable greater access to healthy, affordable, and delicious food for everyone. Meals come with everything needed to make chef-designed meals in your kitchen in about 30 minutes.
“There is no better training for the long, hard, emotionally draining early days of getting your business up and off the ground,” Plated Founder Nick Taranto explained when asked how military service impacted his veteran entrepreneurship.
RedOwl Founder Guy Filippelli also explained, “Military service prepared me for the complexities and turbulence entrepreneurs encounter when building a business from the ground up.”
Salt Lake City-based roast-to-order Black Rifle Coffee Company perfected its espressos and drip coffee thanks to a winning strategy during its founder’s deployments.
“Military service taught me several important lessons that have reverberated through Black Rifle Coffee,” noted Founder Evan Hafer. “Nothing is impossible, you can’t win if you don’t try and every second of your life there is an opportunity to succeed.”