published Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Veterans growing as entrepreneurs


Veterans returning home face many challenges that weren’t present when they were serving in the armed forces. Between adapting to civilian life, reacquainting with family and friends, and fi nding employment, the adjustment can be a diffi cult process. Unemployment numbers for veterans are dropping, but returning solders often struggle to compete for jobs due to lack of education, lack of experience or in some cases, the stigma of returning from overseas with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This is why programs like Sprigster’s Boost a Hero crowdfunding for military veterans and spouses are developed to help alleviate some of these career obstacles, like raising funds for entrepreneurial dreams. Crowdfunding provides an opportunity where friends, family and strangers can donate funds to support a cause online. The need is great. Nearly one in 10 small businesses are veteran-owned, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports.

Tom Perez used Boost a Hero to raise money to open a Meineke Car Care Center in Pensacola, Fla. He is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served as a police offi cer and also earned a business degree.

He currently employs four veterans in his shop and will be looking to hire more as his business grows. Perez decided to pursue owning his own business after he had applied, and been rejected for 100 jobs. Then, he approached Meineke Car Care Centers. Meineke’s Franchise Development team worked closely with him to get his business established. Boost a Hero helped him raise the additional $10,000 he needed, and his shop opened in May. Now Perez works closely with his customers and employees in fi nding the right service for them, their car, and their budget.

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