Helping Veterans Pursue Entrepreneurial Dreams


by Dane Stangler

As Americans, we often find much to debate—and disagree upon—related to our nation’s policies and affairs. One topic on which the vast majority of us can agree, however, is the appreciation and respect that those who serve or have served in our nation’s military so richly deserve. These brave, dedicated men and women answer the call to duty, putting national safety ahead of their own welfare and our needs before their personal priorities and timelines.
As Independence Day nears, sharing our collective gratitude with U.S. active duty and veteran military personnel should top our national list of priorities.
At Kauffman FastTrac®, we pay homage to this selfless group—this holiday week and throughout the year—by working to assist military veterans as they transition from military service to civilian careers. Specifically, our attention turns to entrepreneurship.
Not surprisingly, veterans make outstanding business owners. Many of the qualities veterans possess are the same ones that make entrepreneurs successful: tenacity and focus, leadership skills, quick decision-making abilities, risk tolerance and a teamwork-based approach. Such traits and skills position veterans well for founding and growing businesses.
Former Air Force Captain Dan Stratman is an excellent example. A 25-year commercial airline pilot and graduate of FastTrac TechVenture, Stratman founded Airport Life, a multi-functional mobile application that makes air travel easier and less stressful. The app helps travelers navigate unfamiliar airports by providing terminal maps, sharing TSA Security rules, giving real-time weather data for departure and arrival cities, and even helping to pinpoint the best airport restaurants and retailers. Airport Life, launched in 2011, has proved popular with passengers and continues to grow via ever-increasing downloads.
Our company is fully committed to supporting veterans, like Captain Stratman, in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
In 2012, Kauffman FastTrac, which helps aspiring and established entrepreneurs start and grow companies, delivered specially tailored courses to more than 300 U.S. military veterans through the Kauffman FastTrac Veterans Initiative. Approximately 50 percent of those participants reported they subsequently filed paperwork in their home states to launch companies. And, those who started companies created or expected to create an average of four full-time and three part-time positions per entity, thus helping to drive the overall U.S. economy.
In 2013, we’re continuing our Veterans Initiative and intend to deliver face-to-face and online courses to an additional 500 veterans through FastTrac Affiliate organizations across the country. In fact, we just opened the application period for a new 10-week online course, FastTrac New Venture for the Veteran Entrepreneur that begins July 24. Another online course will begin in late September.
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