There are incredible organizations out there that are playing a role in the veteran transition issue. From an advocacy perspective the notion of veterans being assets as apposed to liabilities in society is no longer a fringe concept. The IAVA and various Times and Forbes articles have helped to shepherd this notion to the mainstream. Actioning on the notion of veterans being powerful assets is something the private sector has yet to really accomplish on any large scale.
Obama’s Hire a Veteran campaign has resulted in commitments from various large companies including Home Depot, Wal-Mart and others. While this should be lauded in every way, and not demeaned or belittled, many of our veterans have innate desires to serve and have been engrained with action-oriented, can do and aggressively committed personalities that are suited for many tasks other than greeting at big box stores, truck driving, or working in medical device sales or security work.
A lot of these men and women possess ideal character and personality traits for entrepreneurship. But like making selection and joining special operations in the military an entrepreneurial track in the private sector requires tremendous dedication, mentorship, and a team for success. This guidance is not readily available, and there are no real recruiting centers for entrepreneurship like their are for joining the military out there.
There are very few organizations, programs or businesses that have really polished the process of seeking out, attracting and successfully employing veterans in the entrepreneurial realm. Of course it is happening, but not at a significant enough scale. The major reason – there is a major disconnect between military and civilian culture. Both combat veterans and entrepreneurs alike don’t know how similar they are to one another and have been forged from very different experiences. To successfully embed a veteran into a start-up or dynamic business environment takes education and mediation for both the veteran and the business operators to ensure everyone get on and remains on the same page.
While not very scalable, by intention Tactivate takes more of a one on one approach. Working with highly vetted special operations veterans and high-profile entrepreneurs, Tactivate creates intimate environments for these two groups to come together to learn from one another. In doing such, on a personal basis it is hoped that business owners will come to realize the true value these veterans pose to their business and that the veterans come to realize the value and applicability of their skills in the entrepreneurial realm of the civilian world.
Tactivate was recently featured on KRON4 in San Francisco. Kym McNicholas, a participant in an event in Sedona AZ put on by Tactivate was the reporter on the segment and does a great job of articulating her experience.