PenFed Foundation wants to jump-start Black veteran owned businesses

Photo credit PenFed Foundation

A challenge supporting Black veteran, active duty, Guard, Reserve, and military spouse entrepreneurs has been launched by the PenFed Foundation.

The PenFed Black History Month Ignition Challenge supports Black entrepreneurs with ties to the military by helping them to identify their business impact and goals while providing an opportunity to compete to win funding and mentorship.

“The program is designed to highlight, celebrate and support Black veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and their positive community impact.,” said PenFed President/CEO and PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck.

Proposals for new businesses and ideas can be submitted via the PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program website through Jan. 18.

The VEIP Selection Committee will review all proposals and select the top 10-20 submissions. Participants’ pitches and photos will be posted on the VEIP website and the community is invited to vote for their favorite idea Feb. 1 -17.

The winner with the most votes will receive $15,000 in funding, while second place will receive $10,500 and third will receive $5,000.

VEIP staff will also provide coaching and support to the winning entrepreneurs to help each fine-tune their business and help to further position them for future success.

"We're incredibly proud to work alongside veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses to empower them as they pursue their aspirations for civilian life and realize their career goals," said PenFed Foundation President and retired Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr.

"This program provides a meaningful way to celebrate Black History Month and support veteran businesses and the greater Black and military communities,” said PenFed Foundation President and retired Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr.

Founded in 2018, VEIP has a three-pronged approach to create a robust network for veteran-owned start-ups and businesses:

1. Investment of seed capital, providing access to other capital investment programs and connecting entrepreneurs to funders;
2. Preparation through the Master’s Program, a year-long fundraising accelerator; and
3. Education through virtual and in-person Pop-Up Lab workshops.

Reach Julia LeDoux at

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Featured Image Photo Credit: PenFed Foundation