Colorado Springs is the perfect home for military families, veterans, and innovative entrepreneurs in our business-friendly climate. Did you know former service members make up 17% of Colorado Springs’ population? The military is an invaluable source of entrepreneurial talent for the community. In fact, WalletHub ranked Colorado Springs number six among the best places for veterans to live. The report compared 100 of the most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: employment, economy, quality of life, and health. It’s no surprise that the Pikes Peak region is a hotbed for talent with a constant influx of military personnel and a strong support system for veteran entrepreneurs!
Thriving Veteran-owned Companies in Colorado Springs
When it comes to veteran-owned companies, Colorado Springs has the resources and attitude that aids tremendously in supporting the thriving community. Below is a list of up and coming and well-established companies and its veteran owners:
- Tolsma/Stockwell Prosthetics: Melissa Stockwell and her husband opened the business earlier this year. Melissa is a Wounded Warrior World Champion—she lost a leg in a military deployment and became the first veteran of that war to make Team USA, swimming at the Beijing Paralympics. And, if that isn’t enough, she’s also a mom to two small kids while starting a business and training for Tokyo 2021!
- Uva Wine Bar: Owners Liz and Alec Blakeley bring a wealth of wine knowledge to their business, having traveled across Europe for more than 20 years pursuing their love of wine, thanks in part to Alec’s 26 years of service in the Army.
- Firma IT Solutions: Started by community leader and U.S. Air Force veteran, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Chief Information Security Officer, Certified Network Defense Architect—Rodney Gullatte, Jr. Rodney has developed a company that brings enterprise technology solutions to small businesses.
- Colorado Campfire Coffee: Corey Cantrell, his wife Anissa Cantrell, and brother Jacob Franklin opened the shop in May and work the coffee trailer part-time. Corey, an Army veteran who was stationed at Fort Carson for his entire career, is now a Colorado State Trooper. One of the small silver linings from COVID is that it opened peoples’ eyes to food trucks!
- Bluestaq: Air Force veteran Rebecca Decker is the COO along with other veterans in the company. The technology company delivers advanced software systems to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC).
- Reg Leg Brewery: Owner Todd Baldwin started mentoring entrepreneurs—veterans who wanted to start restaurants, sunglasses companies, IT firms, even other breweries – while customers enjoyed a beer at Red Leg Brewery. For a while, he was also giving out loans. In 2014, he started informal networking events for transitioning veterans to meet other business owners.
Co-working and Collaboration Resources for Veterans
Colorado Springs is full of job opportunities for in-demand career fields such as space, cyber, artificial intelligence, robotics, nano-technology, and manufacturing—perfect for those with a military background. Here are some resources in Colorado Springs to help you find the ideal career path:
- Incubators including Peak Startup and Exponential Impact are mentoring and seed-funding early-stage ventures. With resources like how to pivot during a crisis, these incubators are very helpful in learning tips, tricks, and strategies on how to stay afloat—mentally and professionally—during this time.
- The co-working and entrepreneurial space Catalyst Campus and the Department of Defense convene to speed up the commercialization of new tech ideas. Students, entrepreneurs, veterans, and others are looking for specific training designed to make them quickly marketable with the latest technology skills. The campus fosters training, mentorship, and apprenticeship opportunities that close the skills gap and offer curriculum that supports and encourages tomorrow’s innovators.
- Pikes Peak Community College offers industry certification programs, cyber competitions, and high school and college internships. Plus, the institute has been recognized by MilitaryTimes.com as making the “Best Colleges” list for 2020.