StreetShares Blog | The Center for Veteran Small Businesses

Raising Breast Cancer Awareness Every Day with the Recovery Brobe

Posted by Shauna Vo Pulayya, Director of Content Marketing on Oct 27, 2016 9:27:31 AM

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The whole month is dedicated to raising awareness to a disease that affects about 12 percent of women in the United States. About 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to

Many organizations participate in creating awareness in different ways. Susan G. Komen has affiliate local offices across the country and has several events throughout the month including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®. always takes donations to help provide mammograms for women in need.

One StreetShares business borrower works every day to bring awareness to breast cancer. Brobe International creates stylish and functional recovery robes for women who have just undergone mastectomy, breast reconstruction or augmentation. “After much market research and seeing the need for such a special product that would help women feel more confident, comfortable and feminine, I knew I had to create this product,” said Allison Schickel, Founder and CEO of Brobe International.

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Topics: funding

7 Tips for Funding Your Veteran-Owned Small Business

Posted by StreetShares on Oct 25, 2016 9:24:00 AM

Military veterans face unique challenges when it comes to funding their business with a veteran small business loan, but finding capital that works for you is not impossible; especially when you have a little help. Here are seven tips to get you started:

1) Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Borrower.

Before you even begin your search, make sure you know where your small business stands. How much funding do you really need? How much can you afford to pay back each month? Are your margins higher than the interest rates? It is also helpful to be realistic about your chances of accessing different funding options. Do you know your credit score? How are your financials? Finally, make sure your documents are in order. Have you filed your taxes? Do you have an updated balance sheet and income statement? Being prepared can save you a lot of time and grief later on. Follow these two steps to determine your financial needs.

Understanding your financials is one piece of the puzzle when seeking funding. In this ebook, “The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses," you’ll learn the basics of financing as well as have access to tons of VOSB resources in addition to what you see below. 

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Topics: Small Business, Veteran Business Loans, funding

7 Reasons Why Owning a Franchise is a Good Transition for Veterans

Posted by Shauna Vo Pulayya, Director of Content Marketing on Oct 21, 2016 3:20:51 PM


Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be a challenge for a lot of veterans. Fighting in wars, accomplishing life-risking missions and serving your country in a big way is a not an experience to take lightly. But how does a veteran continue to make this type of impact on his/her country and continue to use the skills they’ve built stateside? It might not be the same type of experience, but translating these skills and experiences from the military into owning a business such as a franchise could be a good option for many veterans. Like the military, franchises are stable businesses with support. Here are several reasons why owning a franchise is a good business model for former members of the military.

1. Systematic Thinking and Operations

The Military has created and built numerous systems for each branch to operate smoothly. When joining the military, everyone has to go through basic training. It doesn’t matter what level you’re entering the military or which branch. This is a required step to success in the military. Similarly, most franchises have specific training in place for its franchisees. They provide the support from the corporate offices and give you a ready-made, proven business plan. Their goal is create more locations to expand their business so they’re striving to help franchisees be successful, too. As Willie Smith, franchisee of Juice It Up and retired Marine said, “Being in the military, I like systems. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

See also: "The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses"

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Topics: veteran

How to Determine Your Small Business Financing Needs

Posted by Jesse Cushman, VP of Finance on Oct 12, 2016 11:21:38 AM

Starting your own business can be very exciting, rewarding and challenging. You’re developing a product or service that you really care about for a market that you know well. As a small business owner, you’re concerned with your product or service, marketing, sales, operations and finance. The first year can be very difficult. Once you have some revenue, it gets easier. It’s also easier to secure funding when you know what to expect and are prepared. Here are a couple of things to consider before approaching a lender. Download the complete ebook here.

1. How to Determine Your Financial Needs

Having a strong understanding of the economics of your business is very important when thinking about financing. Knowing the story behind your business, your goals and what you need to get there can be very compelling to lenders. The most important advice any financial institution will give you is to plan ahead and expect a few emergencies. It’s always advisable to secure funding before times like these.

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Topics: funding

Serving Our Country through a Community, Opening a Franchise

Posted by Shauna Vo Pulayya, Director of Content Marketing on Oct 7, 2016 12:25:12 PM

When serving in uniform, you focus on accomplishing the mission. Your work and everything you do is aimed at serving the country, at home and overseas. While carrying out the mission you're learning skills and building experiences that will be valuable later, but when you transition out of the military it can be hard to translate those into a civilian resume. How do warfighting skills apply to running a business? For many, opening a franchise is a good answer.

A franchise is a business in which the owner, or "franchisors," sell the rights of the company to allow third party operators, or "franchisees," to use their name, logo and business model to open another location. Common franchises include companies such as McDonald's or Subway. 

Here’s the story of a Marine Corps veteran who served for 27 years and wanted to continue serving his country in a different way – through opening a franchise. Willie Smith served most recently as a master sergeant in the Marine Corps. Smith performed several duties such as training and recruiting marines domestically, property management in Okinawa, building warehouses to store combat equipment in Afghanistan, and even accounting and finance while he was stationed in Hawaii.

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Topics: Entrepreneurship, veteran

Why is it so Hard for Small Businesses to Get Loans?

Posted by Peter Somerville, Director of Investor Relations on Oct 5, 2016 9:24:00 AM

It’s been almost a decade since the financial crisis, yet small business lending has not recovered. Why is this the case? And why is getting a loan so difficult? To learn why, let’s look at two big factors that affect your chances of getting a business loan:

One: It's expensive for lenders to make small business loans

Lenders consider several factors associated with cost each time they decide whether to make a loan:

The Cost of Capital: Lenders need money to make loans for borrowers. For banks, funds are readily accessible. Banks typically offer savings and checking accounts with interest rates below one percent—this is the price they pay to have money available for loans. For other lenders, the money for loans comes from investors expecting a higher return on their investment.

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Topics: Small Business, investing, peer-to-peer lending

Traditional Banking vs. Online Lenders, A Business Owner's Story

Posted by Shauna Vo Pulayya, Director of Content Marketing on Sep 30, 2016 9:03:00 AM

Entrepreneurship. It’s the new American dream. It’s the alternative to climbing the “corporate ladder.” It’s about creating your own “corporate ladder” and helping others along the way.

You’re now in the thick of this new venture. Your idea is working and your audience has taken hold of your product or service. You’ve been in business for a year and have made some revenue. But you’re ready to take it to the next level.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

How, you ask? Financing your business can help do just that. But how does a business owner go about choosing the right option? There are a wealth of options out there for newer businesses. Some may ask wealthy family members and friends and others may go the more traditional route by talking to a bank.  

Ruben Creus, Managing Partner of Binnacle Consulting Group, tells us how he approached a traditional bank and the outcome. As a young management-consulting firm that has seen success and has had contracts in the pipeline, he explains that it was very difficult dealing with a large financial institution. They wanted to see an older business that has made large amounts of money already. “Traditional banks want to see traditional brick-and-mortar businesses,” Creus said.

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Topics: Small Business, peer-to-peer lending

Why The Military Is The Best Entrepreneurship Training Program In America

Posted by Mark L. Rockefeller, Co-Founder & CEO on Sep 28, 2016 8:14:00 AM


This story was originally posted in Forbes on August 3, 2016.

One organization has produced more business owners than any other single institution in the nation.

It has a proven track record of teaching leadership, strategic planning, creative problem-solving, task execution, and resiliency—all traits essential to business ownership. It is not a fancy MBA or university program.

The organization is the United States military.

For many years, military veterans have become entrepreneurs at a much higher rate than non-veterans. Indeed, a shocking 49% of World War II veterans went on to own or operate their own businesses, according to a study from Syracuse University.

In the modern era, an exciting veterans’ entrepreneurship movement is once again spreading across America. These so-called “vetrepreneurs” are thriving. They have their own accelerators and incubators, their own venture capitalists, their own support organizations and coaches, and even their own Shark Tank stars (shout out to Navy SEAL-led Bottle Breacher and Army Ranger-led Combat Flip Flops).

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Topics: Small Business

Combat Flip Flops – Creating Peace through Trade [VETREPRENEUR]

Posted by StreetShares on Sep 23, 2016 2:42:41 PM

Veteran small businesses make up approximately 2.4 million U.S. businesses or 9 percent of all American firms, according to, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Veterans have built a set of specialized leadership skills and work ethic that makes them successful business owners. Indeed, it’s not only about what veterans did while on duty, but also what they do when they come back home. And transitioning back to civilian life can be one of the hardest times. This is why entrepreneurship is usually a great fit for many.

Today, we would like to tell you the story of a Veteran entrepreneur and his ecommerce company, Combat Flip Flops. Meet Matthew “Griff” Griffin, former Army Ranger of the 75th Ranger Regiment. His experiences in Afghanistan, both from his time in the U.S. Army and his later return with a medical service and rescue company, led him to create his own business. Combat Flip Flops creates products that empower consumers to promote peace through trade by manufacturing footwear, apparel and accessories from war-torn countries.

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Topics: Entrepreneurship, Small Business

5 Lessons from Investment Crowdfunding’s Cousin – Peer-to-Peer Lending

Posted by Mark L. Rockefeller, Co-Founder & CEO on Sep 22, 2016 6:42:22 PM

When I was a kid, I had an older cousin. I looked up to her. She was cool, and she could do things I couldn’t do. I learned by watching her.

Investment crowdfunding has an older cousin, too. Her name is peer-to-peer lending. And she has a few lessons for the emerging investment crowdfunding industry.  

Lesson 1: If You’re Solving a Market Need, Everything Else Will Work Out

JOBS Act Title III investment crowdfunding went live just a few months ago. Already some are trumpeting its death. One example is a TechCrunch article "Equity Crowdfunding is Dead” by contributor Ryan Caldbeck.

To channel Mark Twain: reports of crowdfunding’s death are greatly exaggerated.

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Topics: peer-to-peer lending


StreetShares helps fund veteran small businesses quickly and affordably through its fast-growing group of investors who support the veteran community.