Here at Donahoe Kearney we love to tell stories of the good people are doing in the District area. And we have a special heart for the Veterans community here in DC.
So, would you believe that a friend of our friend and former client, Bob Corbey (remember the Dumpster Cure), actually runs a business that helps veterans startup their own businesses?
Her name is Angela Corrieri and the group is called "Startup Partners, Inc." (SPI) and here is how it got started:
Angela has worked in the District area, Michigan, and the Silicon Valley, but she met our friend Bob Corbey when she was recruited into the Navy a long time ago.
She studies timing and methodology with respect to the economy of startup businesses. Angela has been through economic ups and downs in Michigan and in Silicon Valley (remember the industry bust and the dot.com deflation) and saw others being laid off in the process. Google came around in 2002, and Facebook in 2004. She watched them successfully navigate timing, properly assess the changes in the market, and use perseverance to learn and eventually dominate the market.
She said to me:
Investors are more interested in the strong team than a superior project. You have to have capitol, and you have to have a team.
Angela's friend Mike Delaney from Paralyzed Veterans of America noticed high unemployment in the veteran's community during our most recent recession. He said: "let's do something about that!" And so, they did. They started a ten-week course to incentivize and assist veterans who want to learn the basics of starting a company, courting investors, turning a profit, and presenting on findings. In short, they do for this community what nobody else is doing.
When I spoke to Angela she said "There are challenges. In the District area (as opposed to the Silicon Valley), there is risk-averse mentality. Folks are not as ready to take a risk as in other places in the country. In the DC area there are more than 100,000 positions available, so generally people would rather have a job than start a business."
That's why the economic times were so key for veterans when the project launched; it gave them an opportunity to shine in creativity as well as teach them a new skill set; which tends to be something that every veteran ends up needing, no matter their experience or disposition.
Each Veteran gets 100 dollars at the outset with an investment agreement that says they will repay 105 dollars after six weeks. The veterans are educated on how to court an investor, and what it will take to bring about a return on investment. Startup Partners, Inc. meets with their group of veterans once a week in the evening for three hours. Every time they meet, a veteran makes a presentation on their progress.
Every week they add another 30 seconds or minute on, until the presentation is 10 minutes long.
Every veteran learns to develop a question, find an answer, develop a solution, and conduct a feasibility study. In all the years they have been doing this project, not one veteran has failed to come back with the $105.00. They challenge the veterans to replicate the process and make more money over six-week sessions.
Startup Partners also coaches the veterans in between meetings. They connect them with customers, as well as industries. Here are some examples of what veterans have come up with, when partnering with Startup Partners.
- A husband and wife (both veterans) came up with flavor-infused olive oils. They have some limitations, so SPI helps them with craft fairs, and finding a volume producer.
- Another veteran who came through had spent some time in Germany. The husband married his Bulgarian wife in Germany and they had six children (adopted and natural). They came up with a unique dessert produced in Europe. The husband had developed a dessert / cone and eventually got connected with WaWa, who started selling the product.
- Another veteran designed unique women’s fashion that piqued the interest of Nordstrom.
Today Angela is still working with her Startup Partners groups. I told her about some of our clients that have turned lemons into lemonade by making a career change after a serious injury.
Give us a call today to see if we can help you turn your situation from lemons into lemonades!