Kicking off today, Dallas is playing host to over 250 veterans and their families in a first-of-its-kind coalition that celebrates successful veteran entrepreneurs, the Veteran EDGE conference.
The weekend-long event, hosted by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, is connecting veteran-focused entities, whether it be businesses, regional and national service organizations, or corporate partners.
Since 2005, according to the Small Business Administration, the number of veteran-owned businesses has declined—despite being some of the most successful in America.
IVMF thinks sustainability is critical to changing that statistic, so the EDGE conference was created.
By participating in the event, veterans are able to connect with corporate financers, expand their businesses, network, and become educated in entrepreneurship. Fortune 500 execs, IVMF leadership, and influential stakeholders will be on-hand to lend advice and experience, like Dr. Mike Haynie, vice chancellor at Syracuse University and IVMF founder; Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs; Andy Williams, a former U.S. Marine who stars on HGTV’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth; and Korto Momolu, an entrepreneur and Project Runway alum.
And, on Saturday, IVMF and Inc. magazine will honor those chosen to be on the second annual Vet50 list, a ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing veteran-owned businesses.
Derived from the Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., the Vet50 works like the Oscars—companies are awarded from the previous year at the conference.
Representing North Texas on the Vet50 list is Irving’s QEO Group (No. 77 on the Inc. 5000, No. 4 on the Vet50) and Frisco’s Legalinc (No. 631 on the Inc. 5000, No. 43 on the Vet50).
“All veteran entrepreneurs bring a unique set of proven skills and knowledge to the business world as a result of their military service,” Dr. Haynie said in a statement. “The business owners on the Vet50 list are inspiring examples of how important and valuable veteran entrepreneurs are to our society and economy. These individuals not only served for the sake of our collective freedom and security, they are now continuing to serve by bettering the economic climate in their communities and across the country.”
The Veteran EDGE conference is Thursday, Feb. 28 to Sunday, March 3 at the Hilton Dallas Anatole. A complete agenda of events can be found online.
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