The success of Project Opportunity is dependent on the veterans that have completed the course. These are a few of the success stories our veterans have shared with us.
Chuck Davis, Project Opportunity Glen Burnie – Spring 2014 Class
Project Opportunity [PO] – The Ultimate Roadmap to becoming an Entrepreneur. I cannot think of an easier or simpler way to describe it. Creating a concept or idea for a business is the easy part. What lies ahead can be overwhelming and life changing. Small business does not fit everyone’s lifestyle or budget.
Project Opportunity from the beginning took me through a series of basic questions, and when answered honestly told me if small business was for me. The questions were pointed and direct. I needed to find out if there was a market for my service or product. How and where do I find my market? How do I get to my market? What is it going to cost me? How much money do I need to start? How much money do I need to earn in a month, and what are my expenses? How do I get the money I need? Are there any programs for veterans? How should I set up my business? What gives me the better tax benefits? I had legal questions, financial questions, technical questions, website questions, internet questions, google questions. Should I buy a listing in the Yellow Pages or pay Google by the click? Will my employees be paid by the hour, on commission or be outside contractors? Do I have to provide my employees with healthcare? It went on and on.
Every decision that’s made and involves the business will either cost money, save money, or make money. A paycheck every month is not guaranteed. The margin for error is small.
Project Opportunity helped me navigate all the landmines that could possibly be imagined when it comes to starting a new business. The organizers were committed to help me succeed. The speakers that came in each week and shared their expert knowledge wanted to present to the group, they asked to be there. I was totally taken aback by how much they wanted to share their knowledge with this program, and to help veterans start a new business.
The program, in a very methodical way starting with qualifying yourself for this journey, took me right up to setting my plan in place and starting a business. There is no way a business will be successful without a plan; marketing, financial or operational. My plan was created with the help of each instructor and speaker who had a thought or idea to share. Along the way I learned how to be prepared to adapt and adjust. The best plan is not always the right plan. Upon completing Project Opportunity my confidence level was busting at the seams. I felt confident that I had made the correct choice to start a small business. I was also confident that there was a market for my service, and that I had identified where and how to get to that market.
One year after Project Opportunity I am ahead of plan with all projections and goals that were initially set. Adjustments for my 2015 goals have been upgraded and when needed I refer to the PO folder for guidance and ideas. Like any learning experience, you get out of it what you put into it. This opportunity, without question, is the most beneficial experience I have participated in since leaving the military in 1979.
My sincere thanks to all who were involved.
Kiss My Glass of USA Window Cleaners
Kiss My Glass of USA is a local, veteran owned small business that provides window cleaning service to both residential and commercial accounts in the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County area.
Enrique Young, Project Opportunity Columbia Maryland – Spring 2014 Class
I want to first Thank You for providing the opportunity to Veterans to embark on fulfilling their DREAMS of being an entrepreneur in whatever field of human endeavor they choose. The Project Opportunity course was invaluable and really set to the tone to where I am today in business. This class taught me a lot about myself both mentally and professionally. The structure of the course was organized and straight forward. It provided a great mix of business professionals to drive home the key concepts of the overall instruction. I must admit, when I first committed to my commitment I was a bit intimidated of all the topics covered in your syllabus. However, the instructors assured the class that if you stay the course you will be successful. I also appreciate the desire of the instructors to assist Veterans reach heights that they never imagined.
So where am I today? The good news is through Project Opportunity I accomplished the first goal and key driver for success in any business- the business plan. I learned that without a map or a plan your business idea is lost. I also learned that once the plan is written you can always make adjustments or pivot towards your desired goals. I have taken the same plan created in Project Opportunity and now the proud owner of FEBA, INC dba: FEBA Security Services (www.febasecurity.com). I am a subcontractor for a major security prime in the federal government space. I also signed my first contract on 4 May 2015, just eleven short months after enrolling in Project Opportunity and applying the principles you taught. I am forever grateful to be a student in your course. I hope other Veterans will experience the same success. I will never quit on my DREAMS!
Graduate has achieved a remarkable amount of success since graduating from the course with his company TAC Integrated Solutions (www.TACINTEGRATED.com) , an information security technology company, which specializes in protecting critical information and empowering information discovery in support of customers in the Defense, Intelligence, National Security, and Federal Civilian markets. We leverage developed technology coupled with subject matter expertise to apply towards our core competency areas of Advanced Analysis, Enterprise Security, and Cyber Solutions.
TAC Integrated Solutions is an SBA Certified HubZone (obtained May 23, 2014) and Veteran-Owned Small Business. Since graduating from the course, TAC engaged large system integrators supporting the federal government and now supports partners on the following contract vehicles:
Department of Health and Human Services CIO-SP3 (Large) – an IDIQ contract vehicle to designed to meet scientific, administrative, operational, managerial and information management requirements.
Drug Enforcement Administration – Blanket Purchase Agreement (DEA BPA) – a contract vehicle for Intelligence Analytic Support Services. Provides support to the OCDETF Fusion Center wherein intelligence analysts identify and/or link potential investigations into multi-agency coordinated enforcement operations that target organizations operating at the regional, national, and international level.
Defense Intelligence Agency – Science, Technology, Acquisition, Requirements, Testing, and Exploitation (DIA – START-X) – a multiple award contract vehicle supporting technical exploitation, scientific, and test and evaluation requirements in support of the defense intelligence community.
National Security Agency (NSA) – multiple contract vehicles supporting the Cryptologic mission.
As of September 2014, TAC’s projected annual revenue estimate is $245,000.
Louston Fountain, Project Opportunity Eastern Shore of Maryland – 2012 Class
My name is Louston Fountain CEO of the Poetic Frame Company as well as Vice President of the Fountain and Sons Trucking Company. Both of these companies were just a dream in my head but thanks to the Project Opportunity Class they are both now a reality. Fountain and Sons Trucking Company, LLC was formed in 2013 after graduating from Project Opportunity.
I started out with one Dump truck and now I currently have two, a 1988 International and a 1998 Western Star. My company had a gross revenue of $75000.00 the first year and so far this year I will do about the same.
I put together a business plan for the poetic frame company because my true love is writing poetry. Its truly a gift from God. I love to inspire others that they might have a positive outlook on life as well as a concern for others. Although I put together an excellent business plan, I haven’t been dedicated in placing my product in stores, however I have my own website, fountains-corner.com. I have more poems to add but since the site is new I’m trying to give it time.
I would like to thank Project Opportunity for teaching me how to write a business plan, how to research my target market as well as how to present my ideas to those who are interested in making money.
Thank you Joe, meeting you was truly a blessing
Jim Mingey, Project Opportunity Eastern Shore of Maryland – 2011 Class
Founder of Veterans Business Services. Jim is a former Combat Veteran who was previously employed in Washington DC helping Veterans reach for their dreams in small business. He had good experience in franchising but had lost his job due to cutbacks in funding and came to DLLR in 2011 seeking to re-employ his skills and help Veterans in small business at the same time and was referred to Project Opportunity. After graduation in November 2011, he was then supported by the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs for a Service Disabled Veteran loan for his planned self-employment in Maryland. He was also then selected to participate in the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disability (EBV) a prestigious Veteran Mentoring Program supported by Walmart which also supports Project Opportunity here on the Eastern Shore.
Project Opportunity advised Jim on how to reach out to a variety of State support agencies to obtain financial commitments including one from Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). Project Opportunity also led to an SBA micro-Loan from Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE). Collectively this funding and his business plan led to TEDCO which now has provided him funding for his Veteran owned business and a contract for services via TEDCO’s new Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim has now received the funding and the business is expected to provide him an income of at least $50,000 annually. And over time he is expected to grow his new opportunity through the quality services he will provide to TEDCO and other Veteran owned businesses. He is also expected to employ other Veterans and be an asset to economic development on the Eastern Shore and the State of Maryland.
Pamela Grinnell, Project Opportunity Eastern Shore of Maryland – 2011 Class
Owner of Cater to You Assisted Living Facility, LLC located in Chestertown, MD. Received operating license from State of Maryland Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene for 4 bed facility on July 16, 2013. Plans to provide living assistance to veterans, working with Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. Pam opened for business in November 2013 with two (2) residents.
We are currently accepting applications for upcoming Project Opportunity classes.