Orlando, Fla. (July 1, 2021) – Today, the application process begins to be part of the first-ever Veterans Innovation Pitch Competition.
Entrepreneurs who meet minimum requirements – including serving in the armed forces – can now apply to be one of up to 20 companies selected to be a part of the competition, which includes a significant amount of free business training and coaching.
“I know first-hand the skills we received when serving in the military are easily transferred to running a business,” says Rafael Caamano, executive director of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “Not only do we get to help many companies reach and exceed their business goals, but we’re also showing our community the power of veterans in business.
“Plus, this is all about creating jobs and economic impact for our region,” he adds. “Through this competition, we’re going to give many companies the tools they need to succeed and create jobs.”
Since Orange County Government provided a grant to help veteran businesses, the group has already worked with 30 veteran-led companies who employ more than 75 people. Over the past decade, the leaders of the organization have worked with more than 300 veterans on building their company.
To qualify for the Veterans Innovation Pitch Competition, the company must meet the following criteria:
- Located in Central Florida. If not located in Central Florida, a willingness to relocate or expand into the Central Florida area within 12 months.
- At least 51% owned and controlled by a military veteran (DD214).
- Established as a corporation in good standing with a Federal tax ID.
- Minimum of $250,000 in annual revenue in the last 12 months.
- If pre-revenue, be able to demonstrate traction in the market (raised at least $250K in capital, secured R&D funding such as SBIR/STTR, filed for a provisional patent, etc.)
- Provide a complete business plan.
- Focused on innovation in a wide range of industries.
The companies will be reviewed by a panel of community leaders and business experts based on possible success and growth of the business. Once selected, the company’s owner will participate in a series of group and one-on-one coaching sessions.
In November, the companies will compete in a pitch event, and will have an opportunity to showcase their company to potential investors, strategic partners and/or customers.
To apply to be a participating company, please visit VEI.Center. The application process closes on August 20, 2021.
About Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative: Since 2013, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative has helped veterans realize and leverage those skills in an entrepreneurial setting. Whether you’re a veteran looking to explore an idea for a potential business or need help scaling your existing company, our mission is to empower and support veteran entrepreneurs through business guidance, education and mentorship. VEI currently offers three different programs that cater to various stages of business. From just having that great idea, to launching your start-up or scaling your current business, our programs are designed to meet your specific needs. In each program, VEI works with you to establish where you are, where you want to go, and how you can get there. For more information, please visit VEI.Center.