On Remembrance Day, the entire nation takes a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by Canada’s Armed Forces. But while we commemorate those who have died in the line of duty, it’s also a fitting occasion to think of those who carry on.
Every year thousands of men and women leave the armed forces to rejoin society, and increasingly they are taking the invaluable skills they’ve developed in the military and refocusing their abilities on entrepreneurial goals.
But without any previous experience as entrepreneurs, it’s a difficult leap of faith. Fortunately, transitioning Canadian Forces members can turn to Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur – a national program that provides the education, financing, mentoring, and other resources they need to start their own businesses.
“These men and women really do have the skills,” says Astrid-Maria Ciarallo, a past associate at Prince’s Charities Canada.
“They’re resilient. They can problem solve under the most demanding circumstances. They just don’t necessarily have the confidence as entrepreneurs, but after this program their outlook changes dramatically. We have so many examples of success stories.”
Over the past five years, over 79 businesses have been started by veterans who’ve participated in the program. Here are a few of the many success stories that have emerged:
Tracey attended Based in Business at Memorial 2014. She has served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 15 years with 2 Service Battalion, the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD), and eventually went on to serve as a technical quartermaster with the 1st Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment. Tracey is turning her love of food into a business with The Urban Gourmet Company, which features gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Leendert attended Based in Business at Memorial 2014 and has since started Hero Dog Treats, a dehydrated dog food company. During his career in the Canadian Forces, Leendert completed four tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan in the Special Forces Unit and was released in August of 2014. Before the boot camp training, he had no prior business knowledge and is now grateful for the education, network and support that enable him to grow Hero Dog Treats and focus on it full-time. Leendert sponsored a breakfast at the Regina Based in Business to pay it forward.
Matthew attended Based in Business at Memorial 2014. Right after returning home to Ottawa from St. John’s, Matthew hit the ground running with his brand new business, Task Angels. The business helps with carpentry work and tasks around the home, like sink replacements and lawn maintenance. Since the course, Matthew has joined two local business incubators to rent office space and network.
For more information on the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur, please visit their site here.