“We serve high-quality, made-from-scratch smoked meats directly to customers. Our food truck has two commercial smokers that you would typically find in a restaurant. The smoking process takes fourteen hours and occurs overnight so that it is ready by the next morning.”
All of the food and drink they serve is sourced from local farms and breweries because they strongly believe in the importance of supporting local businesses. “That’s kind of our mantra around here,” he said. They have also created ten jobs for people from the local community.
“My brother is in the Air Force, and my sister-in-law and I were having a familiar conversation about what she was going to do for work. As a brat and in the military I have many friends who have faced the same challenge when their spouse is transferred, so I developed Freedom Makers to try and develop more opportunities within my community,” explains Laura.
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.
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.
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.”
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.