Samantha (00:06):

Veteran entrepreneurs, actively serving entrepreneurs, and military spouse entrepreneurs... We're a different breed. We speak a different language sometimes, and we look at problems in a different way.


Jim (00:17):

Since I was in the service, it really instilled in me this feeling of wanting to be part of something bigger than myself. I applied to CEOcircle and I was super excited when I found out I got in because I really think that it's that foundation of trust among military veterans having the opportunity to be in a cohort with like-minded individuals who've come out of the military, are now running their own companies, and it has been such a tremendous experience.


Andy (00:50):

What's exciting about this is that it really is veteran and veteran spouse, and that aspect's really important. I think it's challenging for veterans in the transition to civilian world, it was for me for sure, but now as a CEO, the burdens are even more, the stress is there, it's lonely at the top, so I'm super excited about the opportunity not just to learn from other CEOs, but from other veteran entrepreneurs that are out there.


Dean (01:16):

I truly believe in investing relationships and going out of my way to serve others. But the other one that makes this special is it is the veteran community, and there's just that common bond that you have, whether you've gone through West Point together or basic training or flight school, ranger school, you've been deployed in combat. You know, that really brings that relationship together that you really don't have with anybody else.


Jim (01:38):

I think it really does go back to that idea of a foundation of trust. You all have that common bond and I've made these bonds that are going to last a lifetime.

It’s often said that clichés are clichés for a reason. When business leaders manage to solve an impossible or seemingly impossible problem, they may celebrate the fact that they’ve “squared the circle.” Finding a solution to an onerous challenge is certainly satisfying.

Now, imagine facing a business challenge while surrounded by peers with whom you share a common experience, a mission-driven ethos and a deep-seated desire to serve. That’s what CEOcircle is all about.

Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and founded by IVMF Bunker Labs, the 12-month curriculum-based program provides veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs the opportunity to advance their businesses through mentorship and education. Cohort members also gain access to notable business leaders and dedicated JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking liaisons.

“JPMorgan Chase has sponsored CEOcircle for the past three years,” said Terry Hill, Co-Head of Veteran Initiatives for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking and a former U.S. Army field artillery captain. “We are very proud that the current cohort is diverse and includes service-disabled entrepreneurs. What’s more, 14 of our cohort members are military spouses.”

The impact to date has been far-reaching: Participating startups have generated more than $1.79 billion in revenue, created more than 6,302 jobs and raised more than $294 million in capital.

“After World War II, approximately 50% of military veterans returned home, started businesses and hired other military veterans,” said Alex McKindra, Co-Head of Veteran Initiatives for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking and a former Air Force captain. “But since Sept. 11, 2001, only 5% of military veterans have chosen the path of entrepreneurship. We want to change that by providing veterans with encouragement and resources to become successful business owners.”

That mission isn’t lost on the veteran entrepreneurs who apply to CEOcircle, said Barb Carson, retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, military spouse and managing director of programs and services at the IVMF.

“I understand the unique challenges that come with transitioning from military service to entrepreneurship,” Carson explained. “CEOcircle provides a peer connection and a sense of camaraderie where fellow veterans and military spouses come together and share experiences while supporting each other in growing their successful businesses. It's more than just a program—it’s a collective effort with success driven not only through our collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, but through the participants’ drive to continue creating impact in their civilian life.”

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