A passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to help U.S. military veterans has inspired members of EO Houston to put together the second annual EO Houston Veterans Business Battle.
The business plan competition is open to any honorably discharged U.S. military veteran who submits a business plan through the event website, www.vetbizbattle.com. Finalists are invited to pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors for a chance at investment.
This year’s competition will be held at Rice University from 26-27 February and includes a day of learning seminars taught by EO Houston members and community partners. Investment offers and cash prizes will be announced during an awards banquet at the end of the competition, in which Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter will deliver a keynote address.
In 2015, EO Houston members teamed up with Veterans in Business Association, a group of veterans enrolled in Rice University’s MBA program, to create the competition. Using media attention, social media advertisements, and grassroots outreach, the competition received 150 applications from across the country. Organizers narrowed the applicants down to 15 finalists, who pitched their business ideas during the daylong competition to a panel of investors.
More than US$900,000 of investment offers were extended to selected finalists, of which $300,000 of investment was from a group of EO Houston members who pooled money together and selected to offer funding to two businesses. These investment levels make it the largest investor in veteran-owned businesses in the country and among the largest business plan competitions nationwide.
Applications are open until 31 January, and investment opportunities are still available. For more information, visit www.vetbizbattle.com.
Photo caption: Jim Murphy, a former U.S. Marine and owner of INVICTA Challenge, was one of the finalists in 2015 to receive funding from the group of EO-Houston investors. Murphy’s company launched a military toy and book line in late 2015 with help from the $150,000 investment offer he received at Veterans Business Battle.