We love supporting Veteran-owned businesses, so we've rounded up ten that we think are pretty great. To be considered "Veteran-owned" the business has to be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a Veteran. Just to be sure, that Veteran must have a DD214, a document issued by the ministry of defense, that is required as proof of service in the military. Here is a list of some of our favorite verified, Veteran-owned businesses.
Plated is a veteran-owned company founded by Nick Taranto. Plated is based on the idea of having a world where healthy, affordable and delicious food is available to you by the use of data and technology. Plated will deliver all ingredients of making a meal at your home in thirty minutes. It was founded in 2012 in New York City; it now has over seven hundred employees. Chelsea Stanton NMLS #1454568, said "Plated is a great option when you don't feel like making dinner from scratch! I've ordered it a few times and the food was delicious, it arrived fresh and the recipes were easy to follow!"
2. Black Rifle Coffee Company.
If you drink coffee, you have to try this delicious small batch roasted coffee. Founded in 2014 by Special Forces Army Veteran, Evan Hafer in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hafer refined his coffee roasting through trial and error between deployment on Afghanistan and Iraq until he found what he felt was the best tasting espresso. We have to admit, we found Black Riffle Coffee through our favorite Instagram Dogs, Dark Storm Norm and Tactical Taz. When shopping be sure to use code TAZ15 for 15% off.
3. Elemental Path.
From Elemental Path we found the creators of Cogni Toys, a brand of wi-fi enabled smart toys. It was founded in 2014 by Donald Coolidge, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran who served in the infantry. Donald is from New York City. They aim at giving kids a fun, educational play experience that is based on speech without the use of a screen. "Where other smart toys rely on pre-programmed responses, the Friendgine-powered dinosaurs listen to kids’ questions and adapt to their age, allowing them to grow over time — just like kids do. The cloud-connected CogniToys can answer oodles of questions, tell bedtime stories and even crack “knock-knock” jokes!" the company said.
This revolutionary media company manages assets about military and Veteran communities maximizing their efforts to connect military communities. They have an app, Sandboxx that ensures efficient and secure communications among these communities. The app also provides relevant information to its members aiming at simplifying the lives of Veterans and military. It is based in Arlington, Virginia with eight employees. It was founded by Sam Meek, former U.S. Marine Corps.
5. Strike Force Energy
Flavor your freedom with delicious, concentrated energy drink packets. Ditch the can, and try these easy to use liquid packets from Strike Force Energy. Based out of Palmetto, Florida the company was co-founded by Former Navy Seal Sean Matson. According to Forbes, Strike Force is packing heat and is set to "disrupt the $65 Million Dollar energy drink market."
Not only are these popular among our civilian friends in our office, but this can-less energy drink is extremely helpful to deployed troops overseas because it's light and easier to carry in bulk. Each packet contains less than an ounce of fluid that can be mixed with other beverages. Small single serving packets provide the mental and physical edge for the most extreme conditions and alleviate the standard energy drink can bulk. Strike Force Energy also offers a 100 serving, 750ml glass bottle with pump for easy addition to all your favorite beverages.
"I wish I had these years ago when I was deployed, sometimes the water wouldn't taste great. Having this easy to use, easy to carry option to sweeten your water would have been fantastic!" said Army NCO Veteran and Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist Michael Mesa NMLS# 1464064 "I've tried all the flavors and my favorite is the Original. It's crisp, cool and not overwhelming" he said. #FuelForYourFight
6. Combat Flip Flops
This company makes "cool stuff from dangerous places" and was featured on the popular TV Show, Shark Tank in February 2016. Matthew Griffin, Donald Lee and Andrew Sewrey started Combat Flip Flops in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2011. Griffin and Lee — who served together in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment — are the company’s CEO and chief marketing officer, respectively. Sewrey, Griffin’s brother-in-law, ranks as president.According to the blog, Humans of Shark Tank, "Combat Flip Flops has embarked on an ambitious mission to create world peace by shelling the so-called enemy with “business, not bullets.” The Issaquah, Washington based company fires up economic growth in war-torn countries by hiring locals to produce its products in addition to donating a portion of sales to local causes." Combat Flip Flops CEO Matthew Griffin concludes: “You can manufacture peace through trade. If we are persistent if we are creative if we are respectful for one another. We can put down our differences and solve our problems and we can depend on one another. Welcome to the unarmed forces.”
We applaud this company that obtains fashion and lifestyle products from conflict areas with the aim of empowering local entrepreneurs and rebuilding struggling nations. Scott Jacobs, Loan Officer with VA The Fairway said "These look great! I just found out about them today but they look awesome. I travel to Hawaii for business and personal often and can't wait to wear these on my next trip."
7. Bottle Breacher
Another a "Shark Tank" alum, Bottle Breacher makes cool stuff and they "get" the veteran and military community. According to Military.com, "You want to make your civilian friend feel like aces? Get him or her something from Bottle Breacher and tell them it's a veteran-owned small business. Then tell them the company also features a "Never Forgotten" section, which pays tribute to those who have been lost in service." Proceeds from those sales go to the charities designated by the surviving families. Thank you to Tactical Taz for introducing us to Bottle Breacher!
8. Oscar Mike
This Illinois based clothing company aims at funding injured veterans to enable them to participate in adaptive sports. Oscar Mike was founded by U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Noah Currier and is operated exclusively by paralyzed veterans of the American military. Every piece of apparel they sell reflects the values of our armed forces, including T-shirts with a tattooed, muscular Uncle Sam, or emblazoned with the slogan, “Fight the good fight.”
For a veteran, it is really hard to adjust home, but it's even harder when you are injured or disabled. We applaud Noah and his team for their hard work serving disabled Veterans!
9. Hire Purpose
Hire Purpose is a company that aims at helping military men transition into the civilian job market. It provides hiring solution, talent search and job marketing for employers to enable them to hire veterans with great skills and talent. It was founded by Zachary Iscol, former U.S. Marine Corps, in 2014 New York. Are you a Veteran, Service Member or Military Spouse? Hire Purpose has great companies looking for talent like you. Visit their website to apply.
Founder Kristina Guerrero (call sign "Turbo") is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and proud recipient of two Combat Air Medals for missions flown in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Horn of Africa. She started TurboPUP in La Pine, Oregon, because she wanted her dog to have a delicious Powerbar of his own. One thing led to another, and she found herself standing on the "Shark Tank" stage with an offer to help build her company. Today TurboPUP is available through these retailers and they donate five percent of profits back to veteran and animal support causes. Buy for your dog, buy for others dogs, just buy because this is a great company that helps you help others in the military community.
All these businesses aim at leaving a positive impact on American society, with each one giving back to Veteran communities. We are proud to support each of them to help enable their missions and to help their visions become reality. We hope you'll join us in supporting them. You don't need to wait for Veterans Day to do this, you can do it any day every day.