A new “Collaboration” for Veterans in Franchising
The advent of a social enterprise
Franchising will now be a central activity to help drive income growth for a new social enterprise aimed at Veteran entrepreneurship. The social enterprise is called Veteranscorp.org. A distinguishing feature of a social enterprise from a typical nonprofit is that it derives its capital from earned income rather than donations. For Veteranscorp.org income will be delivered from three complementary sources: franchising transactions, entrepreneurial education courses and small business incubation systems. These components all have leverage aspects that will help Veterans implement their franchise business plans.
To accomplish it goals Veteranscorp.org is partnering with three Veteran businesses focused on Veteran entrepreneurship. Veteran Business Services, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (“SDVOB”) will lead the Collaboration. VBS currently focuses facilitating the Veteran franchises but also develops custom marketing programs for Franchisors. The second Collaboration partner is VETtoCEO which provides free state of the art online entrepreneurial courses. VETtoCEO is also linked to GUST, an online investment source for both Veteran entrepreneurs and Angel investors. The Collaboration’s third partner is Vet-Tech, a nonprofit incubation vehicle based in the Silicon Valley which offers Veterans a comprehensive network of advisors for any startup, including innovative franchise concepts. Veteranscorp believes the collaboration of these three entities will provide a new holistic service model offering multiple on and off support ramps tailored to a Veterans’ business plan. In franchising, especially concept development, being able to use multiple resources simultaneously and in a custom fashion will offer a Veteran many advantages. These will include assessing or improving franchise concept strengths; obtaining the best values and best financing in franchising for Veterans; and perfecting franchise business plans with a best in class free entrepreneurial training. The Collaboration’s holistic goals just might turn out be greater than the sum of its partners strengths.
So what is unique about the Veteranscorp Collaboration?
For starters the VBS lead partner has already connected the Collaboration to the Veterans Opportunity Fund (“VOF”), a venture capital fund exclusively for Veterans that was originally proposed by VBS. The $30 million fund is now reviewing franchising business plans. Although VOF is a national fund, it will initially focus its attention on the Mid-Atlantic region. The Veteranscorp Collaborative partners will be able to “feed” opportunities to VOF. However, the ideas and business plans will need to be ready for prime time and also meet requirements for the targeted venture returns.
The next unique feature is that VETtoCEO not only offers state-of-the art entrepreneurial courses but also additional access to capital for the Veteranscorp Collaboration. VETtoCEO, has an ongoing relationship with GUST, an entrepreneur and angel investor matching service. The VETtoCEO system will allow a Veteran to post their franchises business plan to GUST after completion of the VETtoCEO entrepreneurial course. The GUST system will permit special tracking for Veteran deals branded by the Collaboration. VBS also works with VETtoCEO to jointly access ‘immersive technologies’ available at the Veterans Administration to transitioning Veterans. Collaborating in this manner will help transitioning Veterans accelerate their business plans in a virtual setting whether their stationed in the U.S. or abroad.
Sometimes after initial support Veterans are left to their own devices. With the Veteranscorp model they’ll have the option to remain in the Collaboration ecosystem to continue to incubate and improve as many iterations of the Veteran’s business opportunity as he/she needs. An incubation aspect of the Collaboration is provided by Vet-Tech. Although many believe that the Silicon Valley miracle can’t be duplicated, don’t tell that to Bow Rodgers at Vet-Tech, who has developed a unique Veterans initiative which was literally plugged into the famous Plug and Play incubator in Silicon Valley. Vet-Tech provides the Collaboration both virtual and hands on incubation services for Veteran business ideas. Just as importantly the Vet-Tech model is replicable, immediately offers the Collaboration access to Silicon Valley and offers many professional service ‘guides’ led by young and old Veterans alike.
Services and capital are of course always necessary but not necessarily paramount. Just as important is having a knowledgeable guide to help explain the applicability and timeliness of possible resources for a Veteran’s priorities. It will take a “village” approach to fill a variety of Veteran entrepreneurs needs. So the Veteranscorp Collaboration will be nurturing an Army of Volunteers. If you’re a knowledgeable small business person who wants to get involved with the Collaboration, please go to www.veteranscorp.org and let them know how you could help.
For further information on the Veteranscorp Collaboration and its Partners go to:
VOF Business Plan review requests can be sent Chris College of TEDCO Capital Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org