The article of Kyle Smith published on the New York Post on February 12th made me once again think of about why we recently created the Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship (G.I.V.E.) to support Veteran owned businnesses and Veteran entrepreneurs.
In my modest opinion, the real division in America is not between Liberal and Conservative or Rich and Poor, but between Entrepreneurs and Non-Entrepreneurs.
In the USA, only 7% of the population is self employed. The country is consistently ranked at the bottom of the most industrialized countries in terms of small business and entrepreneurship. See the 2007 report by CEPR (Center for Economic and Policy Research). Click here to download the PDF of the report.
The key to fill this gap is simple: Give people, in particular veterans and military families the opportunity to see that there are alternatives to working for Walmart or Applebee's.
During my visit to Jacksonville, we interviewed 18 Marines, 18 fantastic and very inspirational young men who inspired me with their ideas to start new businesses and/or organizations, such as:
- Distribution of chocolate in Afghanistan by Luke Sanford
- Virtual tattoo parlors by Cody Wilson
- Virtual boot camps by Luke Deer
- (G.I.V.E.) by Jonathan Weinkiper
- Free Internet points in Afghanistan by most of the Marines interviewed.
During our visit, I stopped by the local Walmart and took a picture of the parking space for wounded warriors. What struck me was that Walmart posted the tagline of its company below the logo. So Walmart's priorities are clear. I read that Walmart's average salaries are $15,500 a year; that explains why there is a divide.
At (G.I.V.E.) Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship the concept is as simple as mentoring veterans and promoting their personalities and ideas online on the (G.I.V.E.) Channel.
We are not reinventing the wheel, we are just letting Veteran Entrepreneurs that their future rests in their creativity and freedom of thought, and not in the aisles of Walmart. And we are letting businessmen and investors know that the best ideas lie in the mind of young veterans and not only in the minds of Yale Graduates like Kyle Smith who might be too afraid to take risks.
"Ha Ha, I am just playing America, you know I love you" Eminem - White America