We’re finishing our third year in business and making waves. With almost 30,000 members across the country, StreetShares has hit many milestones this year. We now offer lines of credit and all Americans can invest in Veteran-owned small businesses through Veteran Business Bonds. We’re accomplishing our mission to fuel the American economy, one Veteran small businesses at a time. As we approach the New Year, join us in celebrating and reflecting back on 2016.
1. Focus on Veteran Businesses (Vetrepreneurs)
Approximately 2.5 million business are Veteran-owned in the United States, according to the SBA. As a Veteran-owned and operated company, StreetShares understands what Veterans experience in battle and in business. Veteran entrepreneurs or Vetrepreneurs, like our founders, rely on four key lessons learned in the military: 1. Set a clear mission. 2. Recruit talented people. 3. Keep the mission focused. 4. Lead from the front. Vetrepreneurs understand commitment and perseverance better than any other group of individuals in the country and that makes them great business owners. StreetShares is focused on supporting and creating a community where Veterans fund Veteran small businesses.
2. StreetShares Closes Series A Funding
Former Deputy Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and founder of a financial-technology venture firm Fenway Summer, Raj Date, lead the Series A equity raise. StreetShares closed $4.5 million in new equity in March 2016.
3. Veteran Business Bonds (VetBizBonds) – SEC Approved StreetShares to Allow All Americans to Invest in Veteran Small Businesses
StreetShares became the nation’s first publicly-accessible small business funding community. Any American can open a Veteran Business Bond account and invest as little as $25. Currently, we’re allowing members to invest up to $25,000. Money invested in VetBizBonds is put to work funding Main Street and Veteran-owned small businesses. VetBizBonds pay a fixed 5% interest rate on investments and can be withdrawn at any time, some fees may apply.
The StreetShares Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization, was formed to inspire, educate and support Veteran business owners. The Foundation provides free educational resources in the form of videos, eBooks and blog posts to all Veteran business owners. By partnering with JPMorgan Chase, the Foundation is able to support Veteran-owned businesses with the Veteran Small Business Award. This award program provides $10,000 in cash awards to exceptional Veteran business owners each month. First place receives $5,000, second place receives $3,000 and third place receives $2,000. Our first place Veteran business owner this month was Chris Dyer, Marine Corps Veteran and owner of Grunts Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream located in Mason, Texas.
5. 2016 StreetShares Veteran Small Business of the Year – Major Mom
We work with tons of great Veteran small businesses that have amazing stories. This was a difficult choice. But, we’re happy to announce that Angela Cody-Rouget, co-founder of Major Mom and Major Organizers, gets our vote for this year’s Veteran Small Business of the Year. Angela has 15 years of experience in the U.S. Air Force, several years as a full-time mother and has started and run her own professional organizing business for the past nine years. She won the first Commander’s Call Award (now Veteran Small Business Award) and has expanded her business to franchising using a term loan from StreetShares. After receiving the award, she had more confidence to build her business and earlier this year appeared on Shark Tank. Major Organizers, the franchising arm of Major Mom, is now in three states including Colorado, Arizona and Ohio.
We developed our first eBook to provide Veteran-owned small businesses resources. This 40-page guide includes education and training resources for new business owners, networking and accelerator programs, basics of financing and types of funding available for different stages of business. This easy-to-use guide puts everything in one place. Download the guide here.
7. Patriot Express Line of Credit
As a fast-growing financial institution, StreetShares now offers the Patriot Express Line of Credit.* The Patriot Express Line of Credit works similarly to a business line of credit and is often referred to as a revolving line of credit. Like a credit card, it can be used repeatedly for a certain amount of funds. Funds are available for six months and a business owner can renew his/her line of credit after six months. Many businesses, like MN8 Foxfire/LumAware used the Patriot Express Line of Credit as working capital to pay for inventory or employees’ payroll.
*This program is not associated with the SBA Patriot Express Loan Program, which was discontinued.
8. Military Veterans Elected for Public Office in Election 2016
Veterans represent about 20 percent of the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. This year 79 military Veterans, representing all branches were elected to public office. See all of them here.
9. Funding Veteran-owned Franchises
Opening a franchise is a good option for military Veterans who want to open a business with all of the support provided including training and marketing. Veterans open a franchise for many reasons including the training they receive and marketing support from the franchisor. StreetShares has been working with multi-unit franchise businesses for a while, but have now partnered with key franchises focused on Veteran programs. StreetShares franchising partners, Dunkin’ Brands, Firehouse Subs, UPS, JDog and Juice It Up, all have special programs for Veterans.
10. Expanding our Network with New Partners
StreetShares is the only nonbank member of the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA). We are also partners with the Northern California Small Business Financial Development Corporation, Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and Miramar Pembroke Pines/Regional Chamber of Commerce. Expanding our network of Veteran partners allows us to accomplish our mission of breathing new life into the American Dream one Veteran small business at a time.
11. StreetShares Team Accolades
We have a rock star team of Veterans from all military branches as well as top performing non-Veterans who hail from Stanford, Georgetown and Yale University, just to name a few. Our CEO and Co-Founder, Mark L. Rockefeller was recognized in the DC Trending 40, Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40 and as a Top 20 Military Tech Entrepreneur by Inc. Our CFO, Jesse Cushman, was also recognized in the DC Trending 40 CFOs. We’ve grown 57 percent in employees this year.
Stay Connected with the Veterans Funding Veterans Community
StreetShares has had an amazing year in 2016 and we’re looking forward to another great year in 2017. Stay up to date with everything that’s happening in the Veteran small business community from financial educational resources to inspirational stories of Veteran business owners. Subscribe to the StreetShares blog.