We’re recognizing active-duty, veteran, and military spouse entrepreneurs who’ve made great contributions with their businesses
Did you know that fully 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned? That includes veteran Dan Foust, who, along with co-founder Dan Joseph, built an artisanal coffee roasting business named FoJo Beans. Started in 2012 out of a garage, the company expanded into a brick-and-mortar space last year; now they host a sewing center to create masks for first responders. That’s just one reason why we’re proud to announce that Foust is one of the latest recipients of our COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant (which, by the way, is still open for applications).
With an unemployment rate that ranks among the highest in the U.S., many military spouses have taken to entrepreneurship. That’s why Flossie Hall and Moni Jefferson decided to help their fellow military spouses create thriving businesses with an online community called the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE) (below). Started in 2019, the group’s mission is to connect military spouses with networking, mentorship, and resources.
Their efforts are leading to more and more military spouse success stories. Consider Selena Conmackie of Fort Hood, Texas. The Army wife and AMSE member launched her boutique digital strategy firm, Hauoli-Socially Inspired, to help clients get the most out of their online presence — currently a growth market.
Military spouse Amy Schweizer of Tiny Troops Soccer is also full steam ahead with her business. To date, Tiny Troops Soccer, a developmental sports program for military families, has grown to 35 locations and employed more than 100 military spouses (below). And COVID-19 is not slowing her business down; Tiny Troops recently pivoted to offer virtual training sessions for kids up to 9 years old.
How Military Spouses Are Helping Their Own Achieve Business Success
If there’s one battle military spouses are losing, it’s the struggle to find a community of like-minded business owners. That’s one reason why co-founders Flossie Hall and Moni Jefferson hatched the idea for the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE) in summer 2019.
“It’s about a need for that one-on-one,” says Hall, a Navy spouse herself. “I’m always hearing, I don’t want to Google it, I don’t want to find it, I don’t want to read it, I just want to ask someone my questions. For us, we would love for AMSE to be a community hub for all the things that military spouses need, period.”
Both co-founders recognized the profound need for such a hub after witnessing a familiar cycle in the military spouse community: As families rotate to a new duty station every few years, spouses accrue dreaded resume gaps that make it difficult to land a job at all, much less one that matches their qualifications. It’s not long before they’re contributing to military spouses’s reputation as a group with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation – roughly 24 percent.
Jefferson, an active duty Air Force spouse, says she found herself in this situation about five years ago when she had trouble getting the type of work she wanted as she moved around. “I just decided to start my own business,” she says, going on to launch her own virtual PR agency. After a similar experience, Hall started a meal delivery service called Healthy Momma. But that independence only solved one problem for each spouse as they quickly discovered how the military lifestyle compounds many already difficult tasks of starting a business.
The Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs gives military spouses a community, resources, and support.
As we take time to recognize service members and veterans this Memorial Day 2020, join us in supporting businesses from the military-connected community.
Thanks to HelloAlice.com for this article and salute to veterans.