Startup America’s Veterans Working Group Launches to Capture and Share Best Practices in Connecting Startups and Vets

Startup America’s Veterans Working Group Launches to Capture and Share Best Practices in Connecting Startups and Vets
Regional Champions will Lead Group to Support Veteran Entrepreneurs Across the Country 

Washington, DC – Nov. 12, 2012 – The Startup America Partnership today announced the formation of the Veterans Working Group, an initiative that highlights the best practices for helping veterans become successful entrepreneurs and promotes startups that are successfully serving our nation's vets. Led by Regional Champions from across the country, the creation of the group is a response to a tremendous level of interest from Startup Regions across the U.S.

“In working with our 30 Startup Regions, we’ve found that communities across the country are trying to figure out how startups can better serve our returning veterans and how they can provide support for veteran entrepreneurs,” said Donna Harris, managing director of Startup Regions at Startup America. “The Veterans Working Group will collect and distribute the most promising ideas, programs, activities and events to help veterans as they pursue their own entrepreneurial goals.”   

The Working Group has been active on an informal basis since July, participating in events such as:

  • The TechStars Patriot Bootcamp, an intense three-day program designed to educate and mentor Veterans and Service Members to innovate, build technology companies, and create jobs.

  • The Veteran’s Day Weekend Hackathon organized by Vets in Tech to support returning veterans through education, re-integration, and by connecting to the tech ecosystem in San Francisco Bay Area. 

With the formalization of the Veterans Working Group, the Startup America Regions will have access to two important initial resources:

  • Troop ID has agreed to donate software to all of the launched Startup America Regions on a pro bonobasis so that community organizers can validate the military credentials of participants in these types of Veteran-centric events. Troop ID is groundbreaking technology that allows Service Members, Veterans and Military Spouses to digitally verify their military credentials to military-friendly brands and reputable organizations in order to claim discounts and benefits.

  • In conjunction with VETransfer, the Veterans Working Group will be organizing a multi-city hackathon, in which any of the Startup America Regions may participate. VETransfer is a nonprofit business accelerator for America’s military veterans, which has seen incredible demand from Veterans who want to start a business. The hackathon will take place in early spring, and it is designed to encourage the community at large to connect with Veterans and build a stronger entrepreneurial community

Membership to the Veterans Working Group is open to all Regional Champions, with all participants expected to be active and engaged in the group’s activities. The leadership team consists of:

  • Paige Craig, Angel Investor; Veteran

  • Dawn Halfaker, CEO, Halfaker & Associates; Veteran

  • Blake Hall, CEO, Troopswap; Veteran

  • Kelly Perdew, Co-Founder and CEO, TargetClose; Winner of The Apprentice 2; Veteran

  • Nick Wichert, Co-Founder and CEO, VETransfer

For more information or to join the Veterans Working Group, please visit www.s.co/vets.