The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) and The George Washington University (GWU), each year invites approximately 30 Hispanic veterans of recent foreign campaigns who have entrepreneurial aspirations or are in the beginning stages of running a small business. Participants will complete a three day course that provides an introduction to the entrepreneurial process. Additionally, participants will be afforded the opportunity to meet with successful entrepreneurs, legislators, potential investors, and federal agencies that assist in starting new ventures. A closing ceremony will include certificates of achievement for the participants, inspirational leaders and speakers, and a dinner. Most importantly, we will provide an opportunity for national leaders to attend and thank these veterans for their service and sacrifice.
"I’ve witnessed firsthand how these veterans sacrifice their lives, as well as employment opportunities or the chance to start a new business, to serve our country. They deserve an opportunity to learn the skills they need to put their expertise to good use. The results will be a benefit to our economy and our overall society." – Justin Vélez-Hagan, executive director of NPRChamber and combat veteran of Afghanistan.
WHEN: Yearly, contact Troops@NPRChamber.org for details
*The program will take place over a three day period surrounding Veteran’s Day.
WHERE: The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
WHY: Veterans from recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher unemployment rates than the general population. Hispanic Veterans, especially those in Puerto Rico, have the highest unemployment rates among all veterans, reaching as high as 30%, yet continue to serve on the front lines and sacrifice their lives at a greater rate than most.
Sometimes they have even managed to save money from their service and many have entrepreneurial aspirations, but lack an understanding of what it really takes to start a business.
These returning servicemen have skills, knowledge, training, and discipline that cannot be found in the general public, which can be converted and refined into an independent and successful business.