On this Veteran's Day, we'd like to honor the more than 20 million US military veterans who served their country, and the more than 2.5 million veterans who returned home to start their own small businesses or startups.
"Veteranpreneurship" is on the rise, and according to the Small Business Association, nearly a quarter of all post-9/11 veterans have aspirations to start their own businesses. Good news, as the unemployment rates for veterans continue to be higher than those for civilians (though both are on the decline).
Still, starting a business is tough, no matter who you are. Luckily, veterans have a certain type of resilience many civilians don't, and some special resources they can take advantage of to help them get started.
Patriot Bootcamp is a three-day, intensive workshop for veteran entrepreneurs, that includes mentorship from startup experts and peer networking. With partners like TechStars, USAA, and Microsoft for Startups, Patriot Bootcamp is ready to help you hit the ground running.
VetToCEO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers an online program by veterans, for veterans, to help teach them how to succeed in business ownership and entrepreneurship. The program is completely free of charge to verified members of the military.
Veteran Entrepreneur Portal
The US Department of Veterans Affairs built the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) to be a one-stop shop for everything veterans need to get started with their business. Whether it's learning how to grow their company, access financing, or explore opportunities, the VEP is there!
Investment platforms like Republic
If you're not ready to raise VC, don't have the network, are looking to top off your round, or just want to give back to the community, investment platforms like Republic make it easy to get started.
Republic has had the privilege of hosting a small number of them on our platform, from startups founded by veterans for veterans, to startups helping cure chronic illnesses.
Check out some of our veteran-founded startups below!
#1. Skill Mill
Founded: January 2017
Location: Jupiter, Florida
Noel Gonzalez (CEO): Fmr. Commanding Officer of a Nuclear Powered Submarine.
Ken Roman (COO): Graduate of the United States Naval Academy.
Leonard Chapman: Former Navy Nuclear Enlisted.
SkillMill aims to be the new norm in online job-matching sites. With personalized knowledge and skill matching, SkillMill helps veterans get hired and fill in-demand business positions.
SkillMil’s approach represents a "paradigm shift" in the hiring of veterans and of hiring online in general. Their mission is to become the end-to-end veteran Career Management Service solution at any stage of a military member’s career. Once they transform and perfect hiring for veterans, they plan to move to transforming the job search industry as a whole.
#2. G&G Laboratories (formerly RMR Laboratories)
Founded: August 2017
Location: Marina del Ray, CA
Mike Lui (CEO): Reconstruction Team Lead in the US Army.
G&G Laboratories is meeting the needs of tens of millions of people who will be turning to cannabis to treat their health ailments, sports injuries, and chronic pain. Their topicals address the source of the muscle or joint inflammation, rather than try to mask the pain like existing pain relief creams do.
They hope to fight back against the opioid epidemic by utilizing CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis or hemp plants, delivering relief in a non-invasive way, and plan to expand into other areas of health and wellbeing, like bath soaks and hair treatments.
Founded: June 2013
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Frederick Hutson (Head of Product): US Airforce
Alfonzo Brooks (Head of Fulfillment): Homeland security strategy unit in the US Airforce
Almost 10% of the American population (about 27 million people) have at least one friend or family member that is currently serving time in a US prison or jail. This group collectively spends over $4 billion per year financially supporting their inmate. Not only is the cost too expensive for most Americans to afford, it is also overcomplicated and inconvenient to maintain regular communication with their incarcerated loved one.
Pigeonly is helping address this by providing families with an easy-to-use, low-cost inmate communication service that lets subscribers search, find and send printed photos, letters, greeting cards, postcards and even online articles right from any cell phone, tablet or computer with a few clicks of a button.
Founded: September 2016
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Mitch Monnet (Machinist)
In 2014, the Indemnis founding team set out to make a solution that would protect life and property on the ground when a drone falls out of the sky. What began as a drawing on a napkin quickly turned into assembling a cut-up air mattress and their first prototype.
Indemnis makes safe, regulated, commercial drone flights over people possible, providing both the hardware and the services that enable the integration of small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAS) into national airspace. They're the only company to publicly prove the functionality and reliability of a parachute recovery system to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).