On Thursday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) along with U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) hosted a roundtable to discuss the state of veteran entrepreneurship across the country.
Participants at the informal discussion included several veteran business owners and representatives from other organizations. Specifically, Karl Monger, GallantFew Executive Director, Wichita, Kan.; Dali Rivera, Elite Revolutionary Solutions Owner; Blake Hall, Troop ID Founder and CEO; Michele Markey, Kauffman FastTrac Vice President; Tak Lo, Techstars Associate; Rhett Jeppson, Small Business Administration Associate Administrator; and Davy Leghorn, National Economic Commission Assistant Director and The American Legion.
• The state of existing federal government programs and the ability to conduct outreach to veterans and those still serving in the Armed Forces
• Ideas on how current programs may be improved to better support veteran entrepreneurs
• Programs that assist veterans and the success of veterans who have or have not used existing programs to launch their own businesses
• Gaps or issues not being addressed by current programs and workforce for veteran entrepreneurs
“Veterans in Kansas, as well as across the country, face challenges when they return from service,” Sen. Moran said. “While the VA has often been focused on job training and employment, our veterans are also great businessmen and women and we want to explore the opportunity for them to start a business. Today, we heard from veterans — mostly veteran entrepreneurs — to figure out if there is a way we can help whether through the private sector, veterans’ organizations, or individually. They fought to provide us with the American Dream, now we need to make certain they have the opportunity to live the American Dream.”