A survey conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on behalf of the United States Census Bureau indicates that there are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned and operated companies in the United States.
The Steve Fund grant program will support veteran business owners as part of Founders First (Founders First) CDC's 2021, a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting growth and job creation in diverse owner-led, successful businesses.
The program offers investments to small businesses run by veterans. The first investments are made in 50 veteran-owned small businesses.
According to the Small Business Administration, more than 5 million people are employed by veteran-owned small businesses in the United States.
Their companies generate over $114 trillion in revenue and bring in greater than $195 billion in payroll per year.
There will be a panel of distinguished veterans representing multiple branches of service on the judging committee, including the following regional lead judges:
General Art Bartell, retired, is currently president of the Army and Navy academies in the northern part of the country.
Former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Mitchell is the senior vice president for Military and Government Affairs at the National University System.
Chermaine Harrell, retired marine and deputy chief transformation officer for the National University System.
Brian Marshall, former Airforce staff sergeant, BCL of Texas, director of entrepreneurship and small business.
“Veteran-owned businesses are a critical contributor to the small businesses community,” said Kim Folsom, founder of Founders First CDC. “Our mission is to provide the funding, know-how and social capital to help diverse-led companies grow to $5M+ revenue, create premium-wage jobs and economic impact in their communities.