VETRN is proud to welcome fifteen veteran small business owners who are now enrolled in the 13 week, tuition-free VETRN Streetwise ‘MBA’ program, offered exclusively to veterans and their family members. This is the 4th VETRN cohort and is being taught at Dean College in Franklin, MA.
During any individual’s career, professional contacts are often more valuable to personal advancement than a sterling resume or an attractive Linked In profile. Colleagues, industry associates and business partners will develop over time and likely comprise that person’s professional sphere of contacts in his or her respective field.
To veterans of the armed services, however, the dynamic is much different. Relationships are often forged in dangerous environments through shared hardship and frequently become enduring friendships. Unfortunately, when the service member integrates back into civilian life, this military network typically is widely disbursed across the country and these bonds, though meaningful, are rarely advantageous in the next phase of the veteran’s professional life.
In many cases, the transitioning service member needs to start from scratch in order to establish a new network of professionals. For those veterans launching a business, the challenges can be even more daunting. All too often, without the proper contacts and guidance, his or her prospects for attaining success diminish.
Lee Goldberg keenly understands the unique obstacles faced by these veterans, many of whom have served multiple combat tours, as well as the associated frustration. As an Army Officer returning from Vietnam in 1968, he faced an uncertain future and programs designed to ease his reintegration were not yet conceived. Only after sending hundreds of letters to companies throughout greater Boston seeking job opportunities was Lee fortunate enough to be offered a position at John Hancock due primarily to the fact that he was a veteran.
In an era when less than one percent of the population serves in the military and the memory of 9/11 continues to fade from public consciousness, Lee understood the need for mentorship and professional resources for veteran entrepreneurs to become successful and designed the VETRN Program to ensure that this generation of veterans is equipped with these resources to help them achieve entrepreneurial success.
“VETRN is proud of its exclusive veteran small business classes and excited to help veteran entrepreneurs successfully develop their businesses,” said Goldberg. “We use a peer-based learning method to provide entrepreneurs with the business knowledge, management know-how and relationships to achieve scale,” he added.
During the course, Goldberg summons not only his 40 years of business acumen but also an extensive list of colleagues and professional resources to share their expertise with the VETRN cohort.
John Loughnane, partner at the Nutter Law Firm, Kim O’Connor, Partner at Grant Thornton, Amy Geogan, Chief Credit Officer at South Shore Bank, Charlie Liberge, Principal at RISE Global Partners and Manny Elkind, founder of Mindtech, are among the many featured speakers for the Fall cohort.
Melinda Ailes is a Senior Business Advisor at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Network and a VETRN Advisor.
“I am a huge admirer of this program and love the generosity of everyone involved. The networking, mentoring and resources that the students have access to is very impressive,” she said.
A recent VETRN graduate, John Larned, was on hand to offer support to the incoming cohort. A Coast Guard veteran and president of Global RFID Systems, Larned lauded the instruction he received and the practical content of the course.
“This program really underscored the importance of managing cash flow,” he said. “Focusing on profitability and cash flow, rather than the other distractions has made me a much better leader,” said Larned.
Members of the incoming class are looking forward to the experience.
Juan Rivera is the founder of Primal Platoon, a group specializing in nutritional education and wellness. After serving two tours in Iraq, the Army veteran is poised to grow his business during the next couple of years.
”I have heard so many good things about the VETRN program and am excited to get started,” he said. “You really feel part of a network,” he added.
Other class participants include:
- Phil Forde owner of Horizon Alarms
- Brian Fortin, owner of Ultra Airborne Vision
- Russ Collins of Home Innovations Corp.
- Seth Jajliardo of Maple Leaf Tree Services
- Rick and Rosemary Obey owners of Roventeur
- Shane Matlock, owner of Burgundian Coffee & Waffles
- Teresa Royer, owner of Stop Restoration
- Stephanie Thompson, owner of Warrior Runners
- Dina Smith of Shamrock Overhead Door
- Mikael Pyrtel of Pyrtel Global
- Mike and Lori Levesque, owners of Levco Enterprises
- Margaret Stockley of Aspire2Group
- John Danahey, Jr. of Nerds2Go in Taunton, MA.
The award winning “StreetWise MBA” program is offered under an exclusive license with Interise and tailored specifically to support these veteran entrepreneurs on their path to growth and success. Veteran small business owners who are interested in applying to the VETRN program should contact us.