Veterans do a lot for us on and off the battlefield. Sometimes, they truly shine off the battlefield and become fantastic entrepreneurs. In this article discussing veteran entrepreneurs, we’d like to take a chance to look at some of our strongest veterans’ projects once they stepped off the field and back into helping from a civilian lifestyle.
The Top Veteran Entrepreneurs You Need to Know:
Discharged and Final Salute, Jas Boothe
With a story that could have been written into a movie, Jas Boothe experienced an overwhelming number of setbacks but always kept assaulting forward. Within a few short months she was a victim of Hurricane Katrina, rendered homeless, and diagnosed with cancer, but didn’t let any of that stand in her way. Boothe used it to fuel her fire as she started Final Salute, Inc., to help homeless female veterans find homes and jobs. In addition, Jas has held an annual celebration of women in the military with Ms. Veteran America which has helped to raise over $330,000 for women veterans and children.
Heroes Vodka, Travis McVey
Travis McVey of Heroes Vodka is another great story of a veteran entrepreneur with an unending commitment to supporting his fellow veterans. McVey served in the US Marine Corps and proudly served as a Presidential Honor Guard from 1989-1992. Spurred on by a tragedy in the War Against Terror in Afghanistan he created Heroes Vodka. To continue supporting his fellow veterans a portion of all Heroes Vodka sales goes to AMVETS. Follow them on Twitter.
Vet TV, Donny O’Malley
O’Malley is a former Marine Corps infantryman and the current founder of Vet TV. This service is most closely related to Netflix. The difference is that this streaming service is run by veterans for veterans. With titles such as “Kill, Die, Laugh” and “A Grunt’s Life” it aims to use laughter to keep the community of veterans together.
RideScout, Joseph Kopser
RideScout is an app that allows you to check transportation around you. It was developed out of Austin, Texas by a Joseph Kopser, a former US Army Major who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike other startups that we have looked at thus far, this one is in the formation of a mobile app. Since then, this app has been removed from the app store after moderate success but this doesn’t mean that RideScout is dead and is still functioning as a company with new goals.
Sperry Shoes, Paul Sperry
When it comes down to veteran entrepreneurship, there are some you may have already heard of and didn’t realize who they are. Sperry shoes was started by Paul Sperry who served in the United States Navy including as a member of the Information Branch and ended his career as a Seaman, First Class. His time in the Navy led him to create a shoe that wouldn’t slip on a wet deck. That's right, he invented the boat shoe.
FedEx, Fred Smith
Another common name that you might not know was started by a Marine Corps. Officer by the name of Fred Smith. It started as a small startup but now reaches a $3.7 billion company. The following quote from Smith shows who he is - and who FedEx is - at his core.“Lessons learned in Vietnam played over and over in my mind when we developed the business plan. If you take care of folks, treat them right, put good leaders in front of them, communicate with them, set the example, and make sure they understand what’s in this for them, make sure they understand the importance of what they’re doing, they’ll provide that service.”
Counterstrike Coffee, Brandon Buttrey
Another great story of veteran entrepreneurs is Brandon Buttery who brings almost a decade of experience as a Hospital Corpsman in the US Navy. In this company, pre-packaged coffee is created to be motivational and are either whole bean or ground. This company is known as Counterstrike Coffee. A portion of the proceeds goes to the veteran warfighter community.
Cigars and Sea Stories, Michael J. Penney
This is another unique profile of veteran entrepreneurs in the form of a podcast. Penney is a Marine veteran and an excellent marksman in his field. His podcast features guests such as John Lee Dumas, Tim Jensen, and Sam Meek. In this podcast, you can hear some of the best stories of guests’ time in service, their transition, and their new business ventures. This allows you to learn of other great veteran entrepreneurship as well.
A Warrior’s Mind, Michael Woods
A Warrior’s Mind is one of the most directly helpful entrepreneurship when it comes to helping our veterans shift back into civilian life. This business helps to bring civilians and veterans together in the community through local events, veteran entrepreneurs showcases, and more. It was meant to make sure no one was left behind - even off the battlefield. Woods makes this list as one of the top veteran entrepreneurs because of the great job this company does on a regular basis.