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.

The PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP)’s Ignition Challenge strengthens small businesses that are run by veteran entrepreneurs. The Ignition Challenge is a competition in which entrepreneurs can identify their business impact and goals, compete for votes, and winners will receive both funding and mentorship.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

African American-owned businesses are a significant and quickly growing part of the American economy. As of 2012, there were 2.6 million African American-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 African American veterans (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017).

PRESENTED BY:

WHO SHOULD APPLY: All veteran, active duty, guard, reserve or military spouses with a business idea or new company that are at least 50% military and Black founder owned and operated.

Elements of a strong application may include the following:
• Business plan or executive summary
• Dynamic and deeply engaged management team
• 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

KEY DATES:

January 11 - 18, 2021 – Applications Open

January 25, 2021 – Finalists Announced

February 1 – 17, 2021 - Public Voting

February 18, 2021 – Top 3 Companies Announced

February 25, 2021 – Ignition Challenge Pitch

GRANT AWARDS:

First Place: $15,000
Second Place: $10,000
Third Place: $5,000

ALL THREE FINALIST WILL RECEIVE:

- Pitch Preparation
- Digital Marketing
- Media Support
- As Well As Promotion

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