Degrees Plato

Two years ago, the husband-and-wife team, Richard and Mercedes, first thought about opening a family-friendly bar & restaurant. They fell in love with Oakland’s Laurel District, where Degrees Plato now operates, and they feel fortunate for their great neighbors and a supportive community. Now, Degrees Plato has 18 employees, and Richard and Mercedes see their business as a positive addition to a friendly and vibrant neighborhood.

Water Saver Solutions

Chuck was inspired to enter the healthcare industry after discovering the EPA labeled it the third-highest water-wasting industry. Although there are many barriers to entry in the healthcare field due to strict regulations, Chuck says, “I embraced the barriers. I really got to know the regulations, and became a subject-matter expert on water usage in hospitals.”

The Philoglots

“My experience with Veteran Launch was awesome. I had nothing but help, support, and understanding for my business, and it was a smooth ride. I found Mr. Mike McGrane through the SBDC. He helped me start my business. I was impressed by the services,” reflects Josee.

Tytanium Ideas

“The loan gave us the ability to launch this new service faster and with more peace of mind,” says Tyler. “Working capital gave us more flexibility, so we could make the best long-term decisions for our business.”

Millennium Family Entertainment Center

“I’ve always wanted to be the one in charge, but I hadn’t found the right type of job where I could do that. My sister and I are both goofy and fun people, so this type of business seemed like the perfect fit,” reflects Sara. She served in the Army Reserve, and her experience managing people in the military has helped her in running the business.

Tertulia Coffee

Tim advises, “Even if you don’t think you need a loan, if you can get one, you should. It’s difficult for startups to get access to capital, but that money is your protection.”

Acumen Building Enterprise

Walter joined the Navy at 17 years old and served for seven years. He stays connected to his military roots, dedicating Acumen to employing veterans, people of color, and women.

Bootstrap Kombucha

If you’ve tried kombucha and think you don’t like it, you owe it to yourself to try it once more at Bootstrap Kombucha’s location or at one of the restaurants that serves their product around San Diego.

Spice Monkey

Spice Monkey brings mouth-watering, globally inspired cuisine together with a warm-hearted service staff. “Seeing the joy when someone relaxes around a table with the people they love is the real benefit I get from my business,” says Kanitha.

Fair Game

Terry shares how happy he is to have come across Veteran Launch: “You are doing an enormously valuable service for veterans. It was a pleasure to find Veteran Launch and receive the loan that helped me acquire Fair Game.”

The Waffle Experience

The Waffle Experience offers a large menu for breakfast and lunch, all centered around waffles. If you’ve never tried a burger on a waffle or a salad with a waffle base, these guys have you covered.

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Haute Butch

Karen Roberts, the owner of HauteButch, started her business because she had a hard time finding the clothes she wanted to wear. HauteButch is frontiering a new place in fashion and thrives because of word-of- mouth from customers. HauteButch opened in April 2012, offering their customers a line of masculine and gender-neutral clothing and footwear designed for women’s bodies. Karen’s innovation in fashion led to widespread media coverage, including a piece by HuffingtonPost at the end of 2014.

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BAS Consulting

Donald Stukes launched his second business, BAS Consulting, in 2009, offering management, scientific, and technical consulting. Currently, some of his clients include CalTrans of Southern California, the Department of Energy, and Battelle. BAS Consulting works with other consultants, bringing as many as six onto one project last year. Helping to connect other entrepreneurs with opportunities is a big part of his business model.

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Kenny’s Heart & Soul

In April 2014, Kenny Stuckey, an Army veteran, decided that he wanted to launch a food truck in order to be independent and to create something of his own. He and his partner Bill Voget began to research how to start a business, specifically a food truck, while selling chicken on street corners in Oakland to build a following.

Noble Brewer

Claude Burns earned a B.S. in Physics from the U.S. Naval Academy for undergrad, continuing to MIT Sloan for his MBA after completing active duty. While stationed in Seattle and then in San Diego, Claude took advantage of the great beer scenes, developing a deeper interest in craft beer. “I’m a serial taster so I love trying all different kinds of beers,” says Claude.

Nido Kitchen & Bar

Cory McCollow and his wife Silvia used their loan to open the doors to their Oakland restaurant, Nido, which means nest in Spanish. It was the perfect location for their Latin American inspired dishes created with local produce, and their bar that is both classic and innovative.Cory said. “Nido restaurant would not exist without Veteran Launch’s lending and technical assistance support.”