America at work
3 Awesome Veteran-Owned Companies
Free Enterprise Staff | November 4, 2014

With tomorrow being Veterans Day, we decided to devote each of our stories this week to more than 21 million Americans who have served in the military.

For the history buffs among us, here’s a little refresher on the holiday. First celebrated in 1919, Veterans Day—formerly known as “Armistice Day”—originally commemorated the end of World War I. It was not recognized as a holiday until 1926, and it wasn’t until 1954 that it was officially named Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since then, U.S. leaders have gathered each year at Arlington National Cemetery to pay respect for veterans who have lost their lives in battle.

To kick off this week’s content, we’re highlighting a handful of veteran-owned businesses that have previously been featured on the site. Be on the lookout for other veteran stories as the week goes on, including tomorrow when we run the first of a two-part interview with Colin Powell. And for those veterans and military spouses thinking about where to go next, Hiring our Heroes and USAA compiled this list of the best places in the country for veterans to find employment.

1. Mountaineer Technology Ventures

Susan Standifird, who served in the military for 11 years before starting a six-year stint as a teacher, is the founder and CEO of Mountaineer Technology Ventures. Standifird started the company in 2013 aftershe came up with an idea for an app while talking with her husband.

“I started talking to my husband about the situations we were having with the family,” she told Free Enterprise during an interview earlier this year. “The real frustrating and repeating one was that our kids were not answering our calls or texts when we needed to touch base or have them do something for us. And so I decided to start my own company and get in to developing apps.”

Standifird spent the next year teaching herself how to build an app on multiple mobile platforms. From that year-long effort came Ignore No more, the app she created that gives parents the ability to lock their kids’ smartphones remotely by entering a password. It’s only after your son or daughter has called you back that his or her phone is unlocked.

Though the app earned Standifird instant notoriety upon its release, she has spent little time basking in the glow of press coverage. “I really have enjoyed the process, and I have some other app ideas that are related around family issues. Ignore No More has also opened doors for us, because we realized that this can be used in many different arenas, she said.”

Read the full story here: “How Unanswered Texts Led Military Veteran Susan Standifird to Start Her Own Business

2. VetPrestige 

We learned about VetPrestige this past summer at the Georgetown University Entrepreneurship Initiative—more commonly referred to as “Startup Hoyas” by students. Led by Jeff Reid and Alyssa Lovegrove, the program helps budding student entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground through programs like the Startup Hoyas Summer Launch Program, a highly-selective, two-month incubator.

Georgetown graduate student Scott Thompson was among the nearly 30 entrepreneurs who participated in this year’s summer program. It was there that the military veteran honed the idea behind his company, VetPrestige, a professional networking community specifically crafted for military veterans with advanced skills and academic backgrounds.

Officially launched this fall, VetPrestige hopes to give veterans who attended rigorous colleges and universities the opportunity to find professional positions that are best suited for their backgrounds. It also offers resources to employers looking to hire these veterans, Thompson says.

Check out this film we made on Startup Hoyas, and hear Thompson talk about VetPrestige here: “Startup Hoyas: Teaching Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University

3. Two Marines Moving

One of our most popular stories this year was a profile of Two Marines Moving. Founded by Nick Baucom, who served in the Marines from 2002 to 2008, the company offers moving services to homeowners and businesses in and around Washington, D.C. Setting itself apart from the competition, Two Marines Moving primarily employs military veterans.

After leaving the Marines, Baucom was unsure of where his professional career would take him. However, he later had an ‘ah-ha’ moment that led him to where he is today, Baucom told Free Enterprise during an interview this past summer.

“I regularly received phone calls from family and friends asking me to help them move, saying they could use a good, strong Marine to help them take care of all their heavy items,” he said. “I saw an opportunity. I wasn’t going to do this for beer and pizza anymore.”

With that realization under his belt, Baucom officially founded Two Marines Moving, which celebrates its six-year anniversary today, having been officially incorporated on November 10th, 2008—the same day the Marines Corps was founded in 1775.

You can check out our full profile of Baucom here: “Two Marines Moving: How One Veteran Started His Own Business

Hiring our Heroes and USAA compiled this list of the best places in the country for veterans to find employment.