PBC Talks Veteran Entrepreneurship with Congress

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://storage.googleapis.com/pbc_app_default_bucket/Taylor-McLemore-PBC-NY-2015.png[/author_image] [author_info]Taylor McLemore founded Patriot Boot Camp in 2012 to address the gaps in entrepreneurial support that military members, Veterans and their spouses often encounter as technology entrepreneurs.[/author_info] [/author]

I am a big believer that questions are always more important than answers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a discussion on Veteran Entrepreneurship in Washington DC, and we touched on three questions I believe are critical:

  • Are the current transition programs building pathways to successful entrepreneurship?
  • How do we get entrepreneurial education and startup resources to Veterans?
  • Is the GI Bill equipped to educate the next generation of Veteran entrepreneurs and builders of tech companies?

I do not have the answers to those questions, but how you approach a question is more important than answers.

The Congressional Caucus on Innovation & Entrepreneurship convened a great group of people for this conversation on April 22 to discuss the state of Veteran entrepreneurship and ideas for how to improve entrepreneurial opportunities for all Service People.

I (Taylor) had the pleasure of joining that panel of superb people serving Veteran entrepreneurs and moderated by David Calone. The panel included Todd Connor (The Bunker Chicago),  John Gossart (RideScout), and Dr. Phil Potter (The Bunker Tacoma) . The audience was a combination of Congressional leaders, including Rep. Jared Polis, and Congressional Staffers.


The panel discussed the questions above and other topics, and a few themes and additional questions emerged.

  1. Veterans have been and always will be amazing entrepreneurs, and it is nearly impossible to underinvest in Veteran entrepreneurs

  2. Outcomes will only improve if we make entrepreneurial education and resources available sooner in the transition process

  3. Entrepreneurial education takes many forms--some match traditional education delivery (lectures, reading, etc.) and others like mentoring do not

  4. All of the entrepreneurial panelists pushed the lawmakers to think like entrepreneurs: move quickly, test often, and iterate constantly

As I said, I do not have the answers to those challenging questions, but here is the approach we are taking at Patriot Boot Camp:

  • Make Patriot Boot Camp available to as many entrepreneurial Veterans and Military Spouses as possible

  • Build a culture of support and the #givefirst mentality to the next Veteran entrepreneur has better access and support than the last