Are you a Black veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or military spouse entrepreneur? Are you looking for funding and mentorship for your business? If so, consider applying for the PenFed Foundation Black History Month Ignition Challenge, running from January 11 to January 18.
You can apply here.
Three winners will be selected in February and will receive up to $15,000 in prize money as well as pitch preparation support, digital marketing and media support, and business promotion.
Applications should have:
• A business plan or executive summary
• High impact on challenges faced during these uncertain economic times
• Well-researched product market or audience
• Military community impact – either through business practice or product/service
Black-owned businesses generate $127.9 billion in annual revenues, and over 270,000 of these businesses today are owned by African American veterans (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). But 82% of Black veterans say they experience at least one obstacle or barrier to starting and owning their business. This is why it’s so critical for our military community to come together to support Black veteran entrepreneurs.
Here are four Black veteran-owned businesses you can support this month:
This ice cream shop based in DC also delivers nationwide and makes healthy gelato infused with essential vitamins and nutrients (and 50% less cholesterol). It was founded by Thereasa Black, a single mom and soldier who was inspired by her daughter’s love for ice cream. Thereasa is a participant in PenFed’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program Masters Program.
2. Mutt’s Sauce
Charlynda Scales is an Air Force Veteran and the granddaughter of Air Force crew chief Charlie “Mutt” Ferrell, Jr. She bottled her grandfather’s recipe – a multi-purpose specialty sauce, infusing sweet, tangy and a little bit of heat into each spoonful – and it became a bestseller. Charlynda won the 2017 Bob Evans Farms Our Farm Salutes Heroes to CEOs grant contest.
Military spouse Jasmine Grant launched The Black Wallet, a digital directory center for Black entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Army Veteran Curtez Riggs founded Military Influencer – a magazine, podcast, and events – during his last year of active duty. He envisioned a place where entrepreneurs, corporations, creatives, and the greater military community could connect, learn, and support one another.