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For the 250,000 American military personnel who retire from service every year, returning to civilian life is considered a major challenge. Honoring them on Veteran’s Day may be a heart-warming tribute to their bravery, but helping them succeed after retirement is also crucial. 

With their specialized skill set, military background, and leadership skills, US veterans are qualified to take on jobs in the private sector. These qualities are the reason why companies such as Coca Cola, PenFed, and Home Depot have developed hiring programs for these former soldiers. 

Displaced Heroes 

Despite such opportunities, retirees, especially the young ones, are finding it difficult to get jobs. The US Department of Veterans Affairs anticipates that by 2020, the US will have around two million veterans below 34.

 Many potential employers do not realize that hiring these veterans could be one of the best business decisions they can make. The skills, training, and attitude of these retired soldiers make them the best candidates for positions in key sectors, according to top veteran news articles. 

Over the years, it has been a tradition among retirees to set up their own business once they leave the service. Government data show that 50% of World War II veterans and 40% of Korean War veterans transitioned to becoming entrepreneurs. 

 Moreover, out of the 5.5 million business establishments in the US, 7% of them are veteran-owned. These figures, however, are going down. Out of the 3.6 million who served the military since September 11, 2001, only 4.5% have invested in a company. 

 Studies have shown the reasons for the decline. Among the factors identified were the veterans’ inability to find employment after their retirement, and the absence of opportunities in networking based on top veteran news articles. 

No Access to Funds

Another major factor that is limiting the ability of these veterans to set up enterprises is the lack of business history. Currently, around $25,000 is needed as initial capitalization to jumpstart a business. Such an amount may be too much for a recent retiree.  

This situation became the inspiration for the creation of the PenFed Foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneurship Investment Program (VEIP) in 2018. Its main goal is to help veterans establish their business by providing them with much-needed seed capitalization. 

With the VEIP’s network of 1,700 business partners, it has raised $1.4 million that is now being used to assist veterans in building their businesses. It’s worthy to note that these retired servicemen are now benefitting from the program.

For instance, VEIP provided funding to retired Navy pilot Abe Kamarck, enabling him to launch True Made Foods in 2015. Abe, a father of four, was worried about the unhealthy foods his kids were eating. He knew that something had to be done to address the situation. 

The first thing he did was study how ketchup and other sauces were produced. Based on their findings, True Made Foods developed recipes using vegetables as one of the primary ingredients. The company now has 1,400 outlets throughout the country. 

 With the success of True Made Foods, Americans can help US veterans by utilizing their vast social networks to share the company’s experience. They can also use LinkedIn to connect with veteran organizations that can provide mentoring to these veterans.

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