Tropic Ocean Airways (Photo: Tropic Ocean Airways)
Returning from the war zone, veterans often change their direction and become entrepreneurs. There are many examples of successful veteran businesses in the world - we invite you to learn about some of them.
Veteran businesses as a trend in Ukraine are still new, but in fact there is nothing new in this world. In the European armies of the Napoleonic era, a smart soldier could save up some money and open a tavern or shop after the war. Participants in both world wars also opened countless businesses. Some of them later grew into giant companies, but it never occurred to anyone to call the merchant giant Walmart or international shipping FedEx a veteran business, even though both were founded by veterans. In those days, the emphasis on military experience was not very distinguishable for business and was generally not very acceptable.
A small percentage of the population is involved in modern wars, and the emergence of social media forces businesses to compete not only with goods, but also with individuals, cultivating trust and an almost personal relationship with the client. Veteran entrepreneurs in the United States were the first to realize this, and then others followed the trend. Together with the studio DocNoteFilms, which for several years has been dealing with the topic of entrepreneurs - ATO veterans in the documentary project "Cool Kneading", we have analyzed several examples of veteran businesses from abroad.
This coffee company was founded by Evan Hefer, a veteran of the United States Army Special Forces (i.e. USN) and a coffee maniac. After the service, he tried several times to start his own business, until he decided to do what his heart was in. The military loves good coffee, and maximalism and fascination with exotic countries motivated them to search for the best suppliers of coffee beans. Perhaps Evan would have become a successful local seller of selected coffee if fate had not brought him together with other heroes of this story.
Ranger Matt Best loved to record YouTube videos between hot spots while working for a private military company. Frontline air gunner Jared Taylor languished, filming corporate videos and photos. Together they created many sketches and even a full-length comedy. These projects attracted a large audience, but the real success came when one day Evan Hefer invited the guys to sell his coffee, taking advantage of their popularity on social networks.
Good coffee, flavored with specific veteran humor and new marketing approaches, sold unprecedentedly fast. Black Rifle currently employs thousands of veterans. In addition to a variety of coffees, they produce merchandise, shoot sketches, fund their own serious military edition, Coffee or Die Magazine, and support many charitable initiatives. Black Rifle Coffee now generates about $ 30 million in revenue annually.
In the UK, about 6% of all small and medium-sized businesses are owned by veterans, but few of them advertise this. Here, as in Ukraine, this trend is just beginning to grow. One of those who proudly raised the flag of the veteran business was the owner of the exotic carpets salon James Vilyu. He served in the Royal Air Force, managed to visit as part of the stabilization contingent in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. And in one of the rotations, the idea of his business was born.