Veterans & Business - The Jonas Project Spotlight

5:33 PM June 24, 2014

By: The Jonas Project

"We must honor our veterans." In one form or another it is a common refrain, one which no one disagrees with. The big question is how? Yellow ribbons are one thing, but John and Teri Kelsall have found a way to honor one veteran, their son, and all his brothers and sisters in arms, in a profound and impactful way. The Jonas Project is their labor of love, founded in memory of Navy Lieutenant Commander Jonas Kelsall.

On one of his trips home on leave Jonas told his mother he wished to find a way to help veterans when he was done with the Navy. He was not sure how he would do this, and was killed in action before his ambition could be realized. But his idea continued to live in his parents' minds and hearts. Hence, the simple and direct mission of The Jonas Project: "Growing Veteran Business Opportunities Through Collaboration not Duplication." 

The most important aspect of The Jonas Project is its mirroring of the military custom of learning from the experience of a more experienced Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine. In the Jonas Project there are no Sergeants or Chiefs to guide young recruits. Instead there are the Mentors. The Jonas Project Mentors are experienced and successful business owners, people with records of success in business. Moreover, two thirds of current Mentors are veterans as well, the better to develop an effective rapport with the new veteran entrepreneurs. And The Jonas Project Mentors commit to two years of guidance for the veteran owned businesses. In this way the veterans are assured of having effective advice during the crucial early phase of their venture.

As The Jonas Project is so new, it is not a primary funding source for the veteran owned businesses. When a veteran is accepted into The Jonas Project, their business idea is evaluated and they begin drafting their business plan with the help of The Jonas Project and their Mentor. The detailed business plan is what secures the business loan. Until primary funding is acquired, The Jonas Project has enough funds to cover some costs, but as with many non-profits, funds are limited. Your generosity will go a long way towards really honoring veterans, with deeds, as well as words.  


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