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Veteran Businesses

4 Veterans Who Started a Business to Help Fellow Veterans

veteran businesses

Members of the armed forces work hard to protect our nation, and after their service, many of them continue to contribute to the wellbeing of our country.

In 2012, veterans owned more than 2.45 million U.S. businesses – which accounts for about 9 percent of all American businesses. Veteran-owned businesses are an important part of our economy, providing employment to 5.8 million Americans and paying about $210 billion in payroll per year.

However, what’s even more impressive than those stats is the drive from veteran entrepreneurs to lend a helping hand to their peers. Take a look at the following businesses that help veterans:

RuckPack

During his second combat deployment to Afghanistan, Major Rob Dyer and his team of U.S. Marines came up with the idea of an energy drink and food supplement hybrid.

Rob and his team created RuckPack, a peak-performance nutrition shot that had all the vitamins and minerals that warriors would need to stay fit while in the field of battle. If the RuckPack name sounds familiar, it’s because you may have watched Rob in action during Season 4 of the popular TV show, Shark Tank. He successfully raised $150,000 for a 20 percent owner stake; double his original $75,000 for a 10 percent stake pitch.

“All the positive things that you take out of the military make you a great businessperson or senior staff in a civilian-owned company,” says Rob. That’s why RuckPack offers a nationwide opportunity to veterans to earn cash through commissioned sales. His only requirement is to provide proof of military time served.

The Bunker

About 62 percent of veteran-owned businesses rely on personal or family savings for startup capital. This can be partially attributed to the fact that less than 10 percent of veteran-owned businesses are able to secure loans from traditional banks or commercial lenders.

To provide access to capital to veteran tech entrepreneurs, Navy veteran Todd Connor launched a startup incubator called The Bunker in Chicago. His incubator is a veteran-operated, veteran-focused effort with an emphasis on finding and offering entry points into the technology community.

Currently, The Bunker is working with more than 20 veteran-owned tech startups, ranging from photo sharing service, CloudSpotter, to biotechnology product developer, Vivacelle Bio. The Bunker helps these veteran-owned startups develop, launch and improve their ideas through hard work and strategy.

RideScout

RideScout stands out from the crowd because it tackles a common challenge for disabled and older veterans around the country: the need to figure out transportation options.

Joseph Kopser, a 1993 West Point graduate, and his classmate and Army buddy, Craig Cummings, launched RideScout while Joseph was still on active duty running the ROTC program at the University of Texas at Austin. The mobile app provides users with a better overview of all transportation options and simplifies the process of selecting the most efficient and affordable method of transportation. The app is available to download for Android and Apple smartphones.

Health Tech Apps, Inc.

Nearly 100,000 women veterans in America own a small business. One of those women is veteran Air Force reservist Noe Foster, who co-founded Health Tech Apps, Inc. to conceive and patent a technology called Cognitive Evaluation Development System (CEDS) to reboot the brain. The CEDS technology is deployed on mobile, web and wearable platforms to supplement wellness programs for combat warfighters with combat traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In partnership with the National Guard, the Hawaii-based software developer’s first product is War2Home, a self-care management tool available for iPhone and iPad. According to Noe, the app allows the warfighter to identify if something isn’t right and seek medical help, and access easy exercises to help them reboot their brains.

Other healthcare apps in development by Noe’s team are Me2, an iPad app to delay and manage Alzheimer’s disease and Disaster, an app to help trauma survivors.

Prior to Health Tech Apps, Inc., Noe’s company, theStrategist, helped veterans in Hawaii navigate their way around veteran services. Her healthcare strategy firm also provided job placement services for veterans and created local initiatives, such as the Power Up program, which continues to help homeless veterans find jobs.

The Bottom Line

Driven by a desire to help their fellow veterans, the growing number of veteran business owners demonstrates that service men and women can thrive in a business environment.

Do you know of a noteworthy veteran-owned businesses? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @KabbageInc!

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.