Deadline approaching for one of the largest veteran-only business grants

Veteran entrepreneurs who wish to apply to this year’s Our Farm Salutes grant-giving program “Heroes to CEOs,” from Bob Evans Farms (editor’s note: grocery NOT restaurants), have until Wednesday, March 20 at 11:59 p.m. EST to submit their application.

Ultimately, one veteran-owned business will be selected as the grand prize winner of this year’s Heroes to CEO’s program and will receive a $30,000 business grant and a one-on-one mentoring session with world-renowned businessman Daymond John (from Shark Tank). This is one of the largest Veterans-only business grants in the country.

In partnership with Bunker Labs, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping new Veteran entrepreneurs start their own business, Bob Evans Farms will select three Veteran-owned businesses to attend a pitching event on April 25, 2019. Each finalist will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City and a personalized 45-minute prep session with world-renowned businessman and investor Daymond John to refine their pitch in an effort to win a $30,000 business grant.

“Over the past three years of this program, we’ve found that Veteran entrepreneurs face unique challenges with starting a business, including a lack of funding options,” said Mike Townsley, CEO of Bob Evans Farms. “This year, we are thrilled to continue our partnership with Daymond John and join forces with Bunker Labs to create a distinct and beneficial opportunity for Veteran entrepreneurs.”

Each finalist will pitch their business to a panel of judges – which will include Bob Evans Farms representatives and past Heroes to CEOs grant winners – and one winner will be selected. The grand prize winner will receive an additional one-hour one-on-one session with John and a business grant of $30,000.

“This is the third time I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bob Evans Farms to celebrate Veteran entrepreneurs,” Daymond John, the People’s Shark, said. “Each year, it reminds me of my passion and commitment to help aspiring entrepreneurs by sharing my experience.”

Veteran entrepreneurs can enter the Heroes to CEOs contest February 18 through March 20 by submitting a video sharing their business idea and a plan demonstrating a solid business concept at OurFarmSalutes.com. The contest is open to Veterans of all U.S. military branches who own an independent registered business or have a plan for an independent business in the United States or the District of Columbia. Nonprofits are also eligible for the grant.

“Currently, the Department of Defense estimates that more than 200,000 service members transition off of active duty every year, and the SBA estimates that nearly 25% are interested in starting a business, but only 4.5% will do so,” Tim O’Neil, Chapter Operations, Bunker Labs said.

“Bob Evans’ support of military veteran entrepreneurs through the Heroes to CEOs contest, along with their support of Bunker Labs, will give Veterans and their spouses the opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial potential and help them take their business to the next level.”

Eligible entries will be scored based on reason, presentation, feasibility, opportunity, and future success of the business or plan submitted. In order to have businesses considered, Veteran entrepreneurs are required to submit a plan demonstrating a solid business concept, multimedia assets in a video format, and answer a series of questions about their business.

Bob Evans Farms launched the Our Farm Salutes program in 2016 as a commitment to support America’s service members, Veterans and their families through awareness, donations, strategic partnerships, grant opportunities, and volunteerism.

Bunker Labs is a national network of veteran entrepreneurs dedicated to helping new veteran entrepreneurs start their own business. Bunker Labs is committed to seeing that every entrepreneur in the veteran community has the network, tools, and resources they need to start their own business.

For more information on the grant and contest rules visit www.ourfarmsalutes.com. For more information about Bob Evans Farms visit www.bobevansgrocery.com and for more information about Bunker Labs visitwww.bunkerlabs.org.

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