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Amazing Veterans Who Have Change Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Ever since World War II, military veterans have consistently created and innovated businesses in America. Veterans are generally quite good at looking at the world, figuring out what is missing from it, and learning to create those solutions. Veterans are responsible for brands such as FedEX, Nike, and GoDaddy. New technology companies such as Sybase, Skybox Imaging, Ustream, RedOwl, Rhumbix and RideScout have also been created and are run by veterans.

 

Some remarkable veterans who saw needs and created the frameworks, movements, networks, and methodologies that changed the way people think and currently do business:

 

1.) Angel Investor – Will Bunker

In 1990 Will, a former Marine, built one of the largest dating sites in existence, which later became Match.com. Recently he co-founded GrowthX to fund startups and the GrowthX Academy to help people learn the skills to be better salespeople, growth marketers, and UX designers.

 

2.) Athos – Don Faul, CEO

Don, a former Marine, is a current leader in smart performance apparel that monitors your biosignals. Prior to his involvement with Athos he led Facebook’s online operations, and was COO of Pinterest.

 

3.) CrossLead – David Silverman, Founder and CEO

David was a Navy Seal and createad CrossLead to help companies leverage real-time data to better understand their networks and build better teams of people.

 

4.) Esurance – Chuck Wallace, Co-Founder

Wallace, a former Airman, was a key player on the teams that created Automatic, Ustream.TV, and USell.   He then came up with a new way to sell insurance and started Esurance, which quickly became one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the US.

 

5.) Lean Startup Movement – Steve Blank, Creator

Blank is a former Air Force mechanic turned entrepreneur and is known as the “Godfather of Silicon Valley” for his role authoring innovative books in the Lean Startup movement, which have been implemented by millions of startups worldwide.

 

6.) Maker Movement Pioneer – Mark Hatch

Hatch is a former Special Forces leader who currently runs the Green Beret network on LinkedIn, he is a partner at Network Society Ventures and is an author. He helped pioneer the Maker Movement and through his works he continues to help future makers and tinkerers.

 

7.) Social Media Maven – Koka Sexton

Sexton is a former Army officer who is one of the world’s leading minds in social media. Sexton used to head LinkedIN’s social media department, created Social Selling Labs to provide sales resources, and is currently working for the most-used social media management tool – Hootsuite.

 

8.) Startup List – Nick Frost, Creator

Frost is a Navy veteran who created Startup List in his bunk in Iraq. He currently works as a curator at the Mattermark Daily newsletter.

 

9.) StreetShares – Mark Rockefeller, Co-Founder

Rockefeller, a former Air Force officer co-founded StreetShares and a created a new way to match borrowers with investors. Recently the company added Veteran Business Bonds to their offerings to better support veteran businesses.

 

10.) The Lean Product Playbook – Dan Olsen, Author

Olsen, a former Naval Officer, has been a leader in Silicon Valley for over 20 years. His experiences working on nuclear submarine designs led him to write a practical step-by-step book for lean startups that is used by thousands of entrepreneurs each year.

 

11.) VC Trailblazers – Pitch Johnson and Bill Draper

Johnson (Air Force) and Draper (Army) were some of the venture capitalists on the West Coast back in the early 1960s. They created Asset Management Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures and through these companies they have funded a staggering number of other companies.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

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Veteran-owned small businesses have a lot to offer, to their customers, their communities, and to prospective employees. Despite the focus and push for veteran employment through diversity and inclusion, there needs to be greater focus on supplier diversity for veteran owned businesses.  I also believe that corporations need to integrate their Supplier Diversity, Inclusion and Diversity and Veteran Affinity and mentorship groups for real success.

 

Some interesting stats according to the Small Business Administration (SBA):

  • Veterans are a key part of any supplier diversity program.
  • Veterans are one of the most successful groups of business owners in America.
  • 1 in 10 businesses are veteran-owned.
  • Veterans are 30% more likely to hire other veterans.
  • 5% of VOSB’s operate in the professional, scientific, technical services industries, and the construction industry.
  • 1 % are in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Don’t Just Hire Veterans – Do Business with Them! There are many good reasons to work with veteran-owned businesses.

 

Know the Rules

The federal government requires 3% of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards go to Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).

 

Finding Veteran-Owned Businesses

The very best ways to find a veteran-owned business is to search connect with and sponsor trade associations such as VAMBOA with huge memberships of Veteran Business Owners.   VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association can connect the RFIs and RFPs of your corporation with our network of over 7,000 members.

I believe that time is at a premium for small Veteran and Service-Disabled Businesses as it is for the corporations that are required to have a diverse supplier network.  Instead of spending the time of staff and the expense of attending conference, become a VAMBOA sponsor and we will place your message online to our large membership and on social media with almost a quarter of a million fans and followers.

 

 

 

-Do Your Research
There are good vendors and bad ones. Simply having a federal VOSB/SDVOSB certification does not mean that the vendor is experienced or any good at their job. Always ask for work examples or references as you would with any vendor, supplier, or potential employee.

Any company can slap a “veteran-owned” sticker on their location or product but some may not be honest, and fraud is a concern. Most states will certify a business as VOSB/SDVOSB if they have their federal VA certification. Before doing business make sure that you request a copy of that certification.

 

-Get Management on Board

You will need to gain the support of your senior management in order to add veteran-owned businesses to your approved supplier lists. Veteran-owned businesses now provide almost every type of product or service you can think of.  Make sure the entire company is on the same page about including VOSB/SDVOSBs. Veterans hit all the boxes as they are diverse group including minorities, women and disabled.

 

-Educate Your Purchasing and Contract Departments
Once you are sure that you have clearly outlined your goals for including veterans in your diversity supplier efforts, provide well researched lists to your key personnel of veteran-owned businesses to help jump-start the process. The most common internal pushback is lack of access to known veteran-owned businesses. If you cannot find them – it is hard to work with them. Make it as easy as possible for your employees to include VOSB/SDVOSBs when your company is looking for a vendor or supplier.  The very best way is to become a VAMBOA sponsor.  Contact us at info@vamboa.org.

 

-Tipping the Bidding Scales in Your Favor
Sometimes working with veteran-owned businesses can bring you a competitive edge when bidding a job. Certain agencies will give preference to companies that utilize VOSB/SDVOSBs. Each federal agency sets participation goals for small businesses in procurement contracts. Regulations require Federal purchases over $10,000, but less than $250,000 to automatically reserve, or set-aside, a portion of the contract monies for small businesses.

 

Working with VOSB/SDVOSB can help you, the VOSB/SDVOSB you work with, and our economy in general. Next time you need a new supplier, vendor, or partner it may be in your best interest to find one being run by a vet.   Contact VAMBOA – info@vamboa.org

 

Political Boot Camp for Veterans

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Did you know that thirty-one out of forty-five United States Presidents have served in the Armed Forces? An unprecedented number of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are seeking state and federal elected offices.  While the number of United States senators with war experience in both conflicts will be relatively the same, a surge has taken place for both parties in the United States House of Representatives.

Both political parties have encouraged veterans to run for Congress.  As the number of military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq decreases, more veterans are funning for office because they want to continue to serve their country.  Additionally, efforts to recruit, train and support veteran candidates has moved from ad hoc initiatives to more formalized support.

Veterans are very attractive candidates to voters as well.  They tend to be more pragmatic and their military experience of mission accomplishment, teamwork, service above self, and nation over faction appeal to voters tired of constant bickering in Washington, D.C.

If you’re a veteran looking to run for a political office, you may have found the barriers of entry to be incredibly high. But there is hope on the horizon.

In part made possible by a grant from JP Morgan Chase & Co., Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and the Maxwell School are collaborating to introduce a new and innovative program for veterans and military family members who aspire to public office or another form of a political career.

The goal of the “Veterans in Politics” (VIP) program is to act on the opportunity to continue public service demonstrated by those who have served in our nation’s military.

“The IVMF’s deep involvement, understanding and engagement with the veteran and military-connected community, coupled with the Maxwell School’s standing as the nation’s  No. 1 ranked school of public affairs, positions this program to empower those who have served our nation in uniform with preparation, expertise and confidence so that they can extend their commitment to public service in the form of a political career at the local, state or federal level,” said David M. Van Slyke, Dean of the Maxwell School

The VIP program will enroll its inaugural class in late 2019. The program will feature both online coursework and a one-week intensive residency.  VIP curriculum will cover election law; party politics and public policy; creating, managing and leading campaign teams; campaign finance; understanding voters; message development; mobilizing volunteer teams; responding to citizen issues; and conflict management, among others topics.

To request more information about the VIP program, visit www.maxwell.syr.edu/veterans-in-politics.

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

By Debbie Gregory.

An innovative entrepreneurship training program called Apex at New York University offers military veterans, DoD affiliates and their spouses the support and resources they need to start and grow high-impact companies. And because doesn’t take equity, founders can guide their startups in the way that works best for their company.

In addition to providing free office space, mentoring and networking opportunities, the year-long program is now offering free housing to qualifying founders who are relocating to New York City, in shared apartments at Fort Hamilton Army Base, Brooklyn.

“We call it Apex because we want you to leave that program in a higher and better place than when you started,” said James Hendon, director of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering Veterans Future Lab, home to Apex and other veteran-specific training programs. Hendon, himself a veteran entrepreneur, was one of the first to attend the lab’s veteran-specific training.

“There are certain … skills that you bring from your military service,” such as discipline, integrity and a “never quit ethos”, Hendon said.

Unlike co-working spaces of non-curated companies and individuals, the Veterans Future Lab offers a community of military veterans and their spouses who are invested in each other’s success.

Additionally, startups in the program receive valuable perks such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform credits, PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting, and tools from partners such as IBM and Nvidia.

Companies enrolled in Apex can also apply for Start-Up NY, a state incentive that grants tax-free status to startups participating in the APEX program.

Apex grew out of a 12-week training program for veteran entrepreneurs that started in 2015, according to Kurt Becker, Tandon’s vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Applications are open through April 7th for the next round of Apex, which will start in July and run through the following summer.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

Electric Therapy Shows Promise in PTSD Treatment

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By Debbie Gregory.

Hundreds of veterans have found improvement for their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and mental disorders through an experimental new electric therapy treatment.

Former U.S. Special Operations Forces personnel have received the treatment at the Newport Brain Research Laboratory, located at the Brain Treatment Center in San Diego, California.

Dr. Erik Won is the president and CEO of the Newport Brain Research Laboratory, the company that has developed the treatment called Magnetic EEG/ECG-guided Resonant Therapy (MeRT).

Former Navy SEALS represent the perfect test group for the experimental brain treatment. They enter the service in superb health and then embark on a course of training that heightens mental and physical strength and alertness. But due to their close range exposure to explosives, they often suffer from Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms and PTSD

With ongoing FDA clinical trials to judge the efficacy and risks of MeRT, the technique could provide an alternative treatment for debilitating headaches, inability to concentrate, memory problems, depression, anxiety, anger, aggressiveness, attention deficit and difficulty sleeping.

Won’s therapy is administered by placing a flashlight-sized device near the skull and inducing an electromagnetic field that sends a small burst of current to the brain. Over the course of 20 minutes, the device is moved around the cranium, delivering jolts that, at their most aggressive, feel like a firm finger tapping.

Won, a former U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon, and his team have treated more than 650 veterans using MeRT. The therapy has shown big improvements in test subjects who have participated in the course of therapy that runs for five days a week, for about four weeks.

“It’s certainly not a panacea,” said Won. But he believes that MeRT could be used to replace other therapies, including drug therapy.

“I think, in the future, there will be a discussion about whether this should be first-line management. What can we do to address the functional issues at play? There’s a whole lot of science to do before we get there,” he said.

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