A group of aspiring, mostly disabled, American Veterans have found a common interest in seeking to start their own businesses and a new home at the Murrieta Innovation Center.
It began with several disabled veterans meeting for coffee several times a week. Their discussions centered around, as one might expect, their prior military experiences and the struggles they faced after being discharged from the service. Those battle-tested veterans like Russell Kenneth Brown, Latalya Jenkins and Parish Morris managed to overcome their physical and mental disabilities and start their own businesses. Yet, they knew of other vets who were not as fortunate. Those vets were finding their disabilities hindering their efforts to find the ways means to establish their own businesses or services.
They had ideas and the strong desire to become entrepreneurs. They found it is a very competitive business world, yet knew little about ways the government and Veterans Affairs can help disabled veterans. It was a matter of education as well as skill and desire.
Other vets learned from their former brothers and sisters in arms there were ways they might succeed by using social media, veterans’ groups and the Veterans Affairs in learning business acumen and securing grants. The successful veterans in business such as Brown who is CEO of OMI, Oversized Machine Industries, dealing in sales, service and supplies for business machines in government agencies worldwide, Jenkins who owns Rocket Popcorn and Morris has a document security service. Brown, Jenkins, Morris and several other successful disabled veterans who own or manage businesses in the area saw a new mission — not military but civilian.
They formed the Veterans Business Committee and spread the word of their new mission to area cities and other established veteran service groups.
Their mission: “Veterans commitment to reconnecting our active, reserve and retiree affiliations to our active, reserve and retiree affiliations to our military base communities in the Southern California region to assist cities in providing essential services and opportunities that will foster veteran entrepreneurship within their cities.” Brown said they have no official titles and work as a singular committee, all with respective skills and knowledge needed to help other veterans in business and are seeking others.
They VBAC met one day in the Murrieta Innovation Center at 26442 Beckman Court in Murrieta and caught the attention of Innovation Center officials who invited them to open an office in the center to support their mission of innovations and entrepreneurship. Even though the VBAC is working on its official nonprofit organization statement they will now meet once a month at the center on the second Thursday of each month. Their next meeting is March 9.
The VBAC met Thursday, March 10, at the Innovation Center with invited guest Vincent Lawrence, president and CEO of Galaxie Defense Marketing Services. About 25 veterans, from almost all the branches of service attended and fielded questions for Lawrence a dynamic business speaker and trainer.
Lawrence, a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer in logistics management, has successfully grown his business and now manages 26 employees and six consultants, with over 7,000 customers with product and service needs. “We have everything,” Lawrence quipped.
He carefully explained how he managed to gain numerous certifications and contracts for his business with his status as a Service Disabled Veteran Small Business.
Brown noted the broadened mission of the VBAC will be to help “Battle Tested Entrepreneurs that are proactive in retooling other veterans with basic assistance in the areas of entrepreneurship, networking, employment training, business development, economic development, resume writing, disability claims and education in government contracting.
Activate entrepreneurship services and network opportunities to grow veteran potency and drive our vision’s relevancy and its resources throughout the Inland Empire and will Commit to embracing all veterans and their family members with relevant proven resources that will assist them becoming business owners in the local communities with the acronym VBAC.
For more information about the VBAC call (951) 442-8365. A Veterans Business Action Committee website is under construction and may be available soon.