Accelerators seeking military veteran entrepreneurs

Steven Loeb · June 5, 2019 · Short URL:

They include VA Accelerator, EBV Accelerate, Veterans Solutions Lab and WeWork Veterans in Residence

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For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators for military veteran entrepreneurs:


Stanford Summer Session

"Live and learn in the heart of Silicon Valley at one of the world’s leading research universities. Renowned for entrepreneurial innovation and academic excellence, Stanford enriches your curiosity, creativity, and knowledge with more than 170 summer courses in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering, to help you reach your full potential. Study alongside a dynamic, diverse student body from more than 30 countries in small classes with dedicated instructors, with the opportunity to earn credit and an official transcript from Stanford. Summer Session Students enjoy access to Stanford’s exceptional student-life resources, from state-of-the-art athletic facilities to world-class libraries, superior academic support, and more."

Investment amount: The University bill is comprised largely of tuition costs, housing, insurance, meal-plans, and other additional fees. Tuition varies depending on the number of units you enroll in and your student status (undergraduate or graduate). Costs will increase based on enrollment options the student chooses, including living on campus or signing up for Stanford health insurance. 

Program benefits: Program-covered costs include: tuition, on-campus housing, and a 19-meal/week meal plan. Students are also given a $500 stipend to help cover the costs of textbooks and course fees. Any incidentals (i.e. damage to a residence hall dorm room, lost library book, etc.) will be paid by the student.



"The VA Accelerator is the only program of its kind. It was designed for Disabled Veterans who are in the Chapter 31 program. Here you will find all the tools you need to successfully plan, launch or expand your business."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: The StartupBench™ curriculum readies Veterans who wish to start a new business all the needed information in one place, allowing them to prepare for their entrepreneurial venture in a complete and structured way. This curriculum encompasses everything from business roles and startup options to the process of selecting a product or service to offer. After completing this curriculum, future entrepreneurs will fully understand the commitment they are undertaking, and they will be well prepared to pursue their business ideas.

The Entrepreneurship curriculum is designed to set up each Veteran with the fundamental knowledge required for developing a comprehensive business plan, in accordance with M28R service manual and Small Business Administration (SBA) guidelines, which sets a solid foundation for operating his or her business. This curriculum analyzes each section of the business plan in detail, including background information on specific topics to be included within each section. Upon completion of this curriculum, Veterans will have a complete business plan with which they can apply for funding, grants, equipment purchases, and other investments.

The Marketing Accelerator curriculum is in place for entrepreneurs who wish to grow their knowledge of marketing and sales for their business. New businesses must be capable of realizing a profit, which can be invested into necessary functions. However, a great marketing and sales strategy is required for new businesses to become profitable. This curriculum encompasses marketing strategy, a wide range of selling techniques, and other important aspects of the capture process.

Portfolio companies: Not specified


"Open for Business Ventures is currently providing free entrepreneurship education to 25 military veteran and caregiver participants in Washington D.C."

Investment amount: At the end of the course, the top four startup plans created during the course will share awards totaling $2,000.00 for their business venture.

Program benefits: Participants will learn the foundational skills to start and run a business through our 6-day workshop. The workshop will be led by C.J. Meenan, and all participants will have access to OFBV Network’s online community, offering veterans broader access to discuss problems and ideas with instructors, mentors and one another on their own schedules. This will maximize veterans’ chances of launching successful businesses and navigating business management and growth over time.

Portfolio companies: Not specified


"Ready to take your business to the next level? EBV Accelerate is a bootcamp-style program focused on growth and tackles head-on topics such as the financial, management, marketing and strategic planning challenges established businesses face."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

PHASE 1 – two weeks of online instruction focused on business analysis

PHASE 2 – is a three-day residency during which participants will create a personalized action plan for their business.

  • Tuesday-Thursday; Monday & Friday as Travel Days
  • Travel to the location is at the candidate’s cost.
  • Lodging and meals are provided for the participant during the three days of Phase 2.
  • All program learning materials will be provided at no cost to the participant.

PHASE 3 – involves resources to support the growth of your business.

Portfolio companies: Not specified


Civic Accelerator (CivicX)

"The points of light civic accelerator (CIVICX) is the first national accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on “civic ventures,” for-profit and nonprofit early-stage ventures that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. the 10-week, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each venture to seek investments and scale their social innovation."

Investment amount: The Civic Accelerator does not charge for participation.  A limited air travel stipend ($1,200 total for the 10-week program) and hotel accommodations are available for selected ventures, and most meals during the program are provided by Points of Light.

Program benefits: The Civic Accelerator is a 10-week program, bringing together two- to three-person teams from across the U.S., We plan to convene the entire cohort of 10 to 15 teams for three four-day sessions or retreats over the course of the 10 weeks. In addition, teams will be grouped based on their geography, paired with local mentors and required to meet weekly (through virtual mediums) during the times when they are not together as a single cohort.

Mentor Makeup: Ron Alston, Glenn Bachman, Lane Jost, Chris Noble, Jeff Woodward

Portfolio companies: Dog Tag Inc., [Has Heart], MILLIE, Operation Code


"WeWork Veterans in Residence powered by Bunker Labs is a national initiative providing space, services, business mentorship, and community to help veteran and military family member entrepreneurs find their tribe and create their life’s work. As part of our broader effort to connect transitioning service members and veterans to economic opportunity, WeWork’s Veterans Hiring Initiative is a commitment to hire 1500 veterans over the next five years."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Fully Sponsored Workspace: Veterans in Residence enjoy access to fully sponsored workspace for six months and the full WeWork member experience, from front-desk support to discounts on operational software in our Services Store.
  • Veterans' Quarters: Veterans in Residence are granted access to uniquely designed lounge and meeting spaces for mentorship, networking, and special events.
  • Local & Global Community: Veterans in Residence also gain access to our digital Member Network, a global community of 400,000+ creators in 100+ cities, plus access to thousands of veteran entrepreneurs via our veteran partner communities.
  • Citywide Community Events: Veterans in Residence collaborate with local leaders to organize monthly professional and social events at WeWork, bringing together members of local veteran and business communities.

Portfolio companies: Spark Mindset, Victory 6, TurtleWise, Savanna Sandals



"The Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab (MVE-Lab) offers military-connected people entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, and opportunities.  It is open to veterans, military spouses/partners, and reservists.  A program of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI), in partnership with the GVSU Veterans Network, MVE-Lab offers a cohort experience for military-connected people with a startup idea or concept."

Investment amount: It concludes with a Pitch Showcase including at least $10,000 in prize money

Program benefits: 

  • A peer group of veteran entrepreneurs 
  • Facilitated learning from GVSU 
  • Feedback on business strategy
  • Customized support
  • Access to grants and loans
  • New relationships in the  ecosystem

Portfolio companies: Not specified


"IBM is working with veteran service organizations to help military veterans prepare for careers in the expanding field of advanced data analytics."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: IBM experts lead five-day training sessions at dozens of locations each year, featuring IBM i2® Analyst’s Notebook® software. Part of our Impact Grants portfolio, the initiative works with Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCNN) to host sessions and recruit qualified participants. The program has certified hundreds of veterans in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and helped to place many into jobs. 

Portfolio companies: Not specified

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