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Five ways Sage Power 50 is changing how we see veterans

October 24, 2018

It all started with the idea that there is a right way and a wrong way to do business. For Sage, a market leader for business management technology, doing business the right way means building a better future for veteran entrepreneurs and working with experienced, dedicated programs like Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur (POE) to help make this happen. 

A program of Prince’s Trust Canada, POE is the hub of entrepreneurship for the military community. POE offers veterans the education, tools and resources they need to build confidence, develop networks and start their own businesses.

Sage’s latest project is a collaboration with Prince’s Trust Canada, Prince’s Trust Australia, X-Forces and Hire Heroes USA celebrating the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney. They created a book called Sage Power 50 that tells the stories of 50 men and women who transitioned out of the military and started their own businesses. Eight of the entrepreneurs showcased are alumni of the POE program.  

Nominated for their leadership and determination to succeed, the Sage Power 50 is a unique collection of testimony from veteran entrepreneurs on how they built their business against the odds. A business management company may not be the first place you’d look for the warm fuzzies, but Sage Power 50 has got all the right stuff to make you laugh, cry and see military veterans in a whole new way. 

So without further ado, here are five ways Sage Power 50 is changing how we see veterans:

1. A career in the military is the perfect training for entrepreneurship

You might not think that disarming bombs is an easily transferable skill. But veterans gain more than just combat skills in the military. For many, it’s things like planning, risk management, teamwork and focus that veterans see as their best assets. These skills don’t go unnoticed. After all, there’s a reason people like Michael Denham, CEO of Business Development Bank of Canada supports POE and veteran entrepreneurs. “We see that these vets are well suited to entrepreneurial life. They’re disciplined leaders who know how to make decisions…,” said Denham in a Globe and Mail opinion column.

2. PTSD doesn’t hold them back

Bruno Guevremont was in the Canadian Army for 15 years before being released from service for PTSD. But Bruno didn’t let his diagnosis bring him down. Like many of the Sage Power 50, he decided to channel his energies into a business that would make a difference. Bruno runs a CrossFit gym that provides a safe space for people suffering from PTSD and mental illness. Bruno doesn’t see his PTSD as a barrier. Instead, it’s become an inspiration to provide services for first responders and military personnel going through the same thing.

3. Veteran-owned businesses will surprise you

You might be tempted to think that veterans only start training gyms or security firms, but you’d be wrong! Veterans have started businesses in just about every sector you can think of: skincare, food services, technology, hair and makeup!

One of our favourites is Brock Harrison. After 21 years in the Navy he decided to engage in a different kind of marine experience. He bought Pirate Adventures, an interactive pirate-theatre operating on a real pirate ship in Ottawa. Not your typical business, that’s for sure.

4. They may have left the military, but they’re still serving their communities

While all small businesses work for their clients, veteran entrepreneurs embody that dedication to community thanks to their years of military service and comradery. Some devote themselves to a small town, like Tracey Dean, who has a gourmet food company in Pembroke Ontario, population 13,828. For others, they continue to serve by supporting fellow veterans in their transition to civilian life. Casey Wall, the owner of Qwick Wick has hopes to support his brothers and sisters in arms through employment one day. “I would like to grow my business to have the ability to hire other veterans who might be looking for a sense of purpose or even just looking to join a new tribe and drink coffee.”

5. Veterans live their values

Resilience, discipline, leadership…to many veterans, these represent a way of life. And when they transition from the military, relying on these values is sometimes more important than anything else. It takes resilience to start a brand-new business, it takes discipline to keep pushing forward when you aren’t breaking even, and it takes leadership to steer your team, however small, through those uncertain times that every entrepreneur will face. In many ways starting a new business is a lot like starting a new mission. It takes strategic planning, it takes focus, and above all, it takes a sense of duty and passion for the long road ahead.

POE is proud to be represented by our eight amazing alumni featured in Sage Power 50 and our alumni competing at the Invictus Games this week in Sydney! We’re honoured to be part of a collaboration that brings the challenges, sacrifices and tough decisions that underpin the transition into business for many veterans; as well as the advice and insight that helps to make service honed skills ready for the world of entrepreneurship.

We’ve seen how veteran businesses succeed when they are given the support they need.  Whether they are competing at the Invictus Games, or cheering on from home, veteran entrepreneurs are thriving, and Sage Power 50 is proof.

You can download the Sage Power 50 book at https://www.sage.com/au/invictusgames#power50

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