Applications for the 2022 Black History Month Ignition Challenge are now closed.

The top 15 finalists will be announced on January 25.

ABOUT THE IGNITION CHALLENGE

Amidst the pandemic, the PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP) realized the opportunity to prepare and strengthen veteran-owned small businesses to better serve the economy and create meaningful jobs. Military entrepreneurs are perfectly poised to act on this opportunity, as they have the resourcefulness, grit, and flexibility needed to succeed.

VEIP’s Ignition Challenge is a competition in which military entrepreneurs with a new business or an idea for a business can identify their business impact and goals, compete for votes, and winners will receive both funding and mentorship.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Black-owned businesses are a significant and quickly growing part of the American economy. As of 2012, there were 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S., an increase of 34.5 percent since 2007. These businesses generate $127.9 billion in annual revenues. Over 270,000 of these businesses are owned by Black veterans (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017).

The PenFed Foundation is committed to supporting these vitally important members of our community. Therefore, the Black History Month Ignition Challenge will focus on businesses owned by members of the Black military community.

Who should apply:

All Black veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or military spouse entrepreneurs with a new business that is at least 50% military- and Black founder-owned and operated.

Elements of a strong application may include the following:

  • Well-researched product market or audience
  • Dynamic and deeply engaged management team
  • Strong go-to-market strategy
  • Ability to grow business
  • Military community impact – either through business practice or product/service

Applications open through January 14! All Ignition Challenge applicants must agree and adhere to Terms & Conditions.

PRESENTED BY:

KEY DATES:

January 4 - 14, 2022 – Applications Open

January 25, 2022 – Finalists Announced

February 1 - 10, 2022 - Public Voting

February 11, 2022 – Top 3 Finalists Announced

February 24, 2022 – Pitch Competition

AWARDS:

First Place: $25,000
Second Place: $15,000
Third Place: $10,000

ALL THREE FINALISTS RECEIVE:

- Pitch Preparation
- Digital Marketing
- National Promotion

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