A Veterans ‘Network’ is Their New Mentor
When one asks what a veteran entrepreneurs mentor’s role should be, one should consider how they have functioned in the past 50 years and how they will drive success in the future.
Mentors of course provide the expertise and knowledge we are missing: open doors and provide connections, and impart wisdom that would otherwise take years to develop. Although the one-on-one model still can provide value, mentorships aren’t linear anymore and like any successful twenty-first century business, should require a “team” to get the job done.
Mentors themselves aren’t extinct, the models under which they used to exist are. Now, it’s easier than ever to look to our peers for guidance. When it comes to teams, Veterans can rely on military experience quite a bit. So would-be Veteran entrepreneurs need try to create a balanced team and create intangibles like commitment, loyalty, optimism, and adaptability. And Veterans should look for a mentor not only by what they can teach you, but by what you can teach them as well. In essence Franchisors and Franchisees need to work together to build these teams.
Just as most of us would cringe at the idea of a forced partner, there are no perfect mentorship programs waiting for a Veteran to simply tap into. There are very few serial entrepreneurs searching anxiously for a Veteran entrepreneur to make successful. In the modern world, mentors aren’t given; they’re made and should complement each other. Veteran entrepreneurs need groups of people across industries and experience so they can leverage their expert advice from their different fields.
Quality franchise companies continually search for internal models to help franchisees leverage operational experience. A savvy Veteran doing his or her due diligence should closely research and examine the effectiveness of their efforts before going to Discovery Day. What has the Franchisor implemented so far and what do they have planned for the future? How can the Franchisor help a Veteran build and maintain their mentor team?
And if they need mentoring help tell them to talk to Uvize!
Dave Cass is the CEO and Co-founder of Uvize, a technology startup originally focused on helping military Veterans succeed in higher education. Cass and the Uvize team have been leveraging their military training and experience to build a scrappy technology company in Boulder, Colorado. Today the Uvize platform has 29,000online participants.
The future for Uvize looks bright as they expand their mentorship platform to supportentrepreneurship accelerators and corporate organizations, especially franchisors.The idea for Uvize matured into a true startup in 2012 when Cass and Parker attended the first Patriot Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. The 3-day Patriot Boot Camp program helped the pair hone their startup vision and solidify their co-founder relationship. After Patriot Boot Camp, Cass and Parker were accepted into the Techstars Rising Stars program – a yearlong mentorship pairing that extends technology startup opportunities to demographic groups that are underrepresented in the technology startup community (Veterans being the underrepresented population in this case).
During their time in Rising Stars, Cass and Parker further refined and developed their idea for Uvize. Technology has been advancing at an extraordinary rate over our lifetime, so when it comes to technical knowledge, mentors have so much to gain from their mentee’s awareness of all things current and relevant. This ongoing technological change created a workplace of diverse talents and skills, where the most experienced person in the room was a master of their craft. Using the Uvize platform, Franchisees can easily discover and engage with the experts and learners who are aligned with both franchisor and franchisee goals and objectives.
Transcending geographic boundaries can foster meaningful collaboration and unlock the potential talent of franchisees.
VBS’ Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, is a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises: The Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim intends to keep on ‘advocating’ for veterans in franchising.
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