How MidCountry Bank & PenFed Are Supporting Veteran-Owned Businesses

How MidCountry Bank & PenFed Are Supporting Veteran-Owned Businesses

The PenFed Foundation and MidCountry Bank know that military training provides men and women with the necessary skills — like leadership, teamwork, discipline, and flexibility — to successfully run a business. Unfortunately, it takes a tremendous amount of support and capital to transition these skills into a functioning startup.

Service men and women sacrifice so much for their nation and communities, and they deserve the opportunity to pursue their own goals once they leave the military. So, as a way to combat the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and support our veterans, the PenFed Foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP) created the Ignition Challenge.

Navy Paddles How MidCountry Bank & PenFed Are Supporting
Veteran-Owned Businesses

Here’s what you need to know about the Ignition Challenge and its sponsors, PenFed and MidCountry Bank, and how the challenge helps veterans in business.

What is the Ignition Challenge?

The PenFed Foundation (affiliated with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union) is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure the financial stability and success of military service members and veterans. VEIP specifically aims to educate and invest in veteran entrepreneurs by hosting workshops, bootcamps, and two-day educational programs.

Together, PenFed and VEIP provide veterans with the tools — and in some cases, the capital — to follow their dreams and start their businesses.

Alongside PenFed and VEIP, MidCountry Bank generously sponsored the Ignition Challenge, which focused on “support[ing] veterans, active duty, guard, reserve, and military spouse entrepreneurs […] by inviting them to identify their business impact and goals, and providing the top businesses with funding and mentorship,” according to PR Newswire.

Navy Paddles How MidCountry Bank & PenFed Are Supporting
Veteran-Owned Businesses
Navy Paddles How MidCountry Bank & PenFed Are Supporting
Veteran-Owned Businesses

The challenge was open to entrepreneurs from Iowa, MidCountry Bank’s hometown of Minnesota, both North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin. After sifting through over 60 business proposals, the top 15 contenders were selected, and Navy Paddles was privileged to join these lucky entrepreneurs in a social media competition for public votes to make it to the final five.

Navy Paddles Makes the Top 5!

Our friends came through for us in the end, and Navy Paddles joined NEXT Global Security, Little Cardinals Academy, DenScore, and Burn Pit BBQ in the top five.

All five finalists received generous $15,000 grants from the PenFed Foundation and MidCountry Bank, as well as business coaching from VEIP to help us out with the next step of the Ignition Challenge: a pitch competition in Minneapolis.

The final competition of the challenge involved pitching to a panel of leaders from PenFed Foundation and MidCountry Bank. And while NEXT Global Security took the final prize — a promotional video worth over $10,000 — we at Navy Paddles loved taking the opportunity to talk about our business and getting to know other veteran-owned businesses!

Looking to the Future of Navy Paddles

We’re grateful for PenFed’s and MidCountry Bank’s generosity, support, and compassion for military service members and veterans, as well as everyone who voted for Navy Paddles in the Ignition Challenge. We couldn’t have done this without our loyal friends and customers.

We want to provide the best possible experience to all of our customers, and this grant from PenFed and MidCountry Bank will go a very long way in accomplishing our goal. Keep an eye out as we expand our marketing efforts and product lines — and launch a brand new website!— so that we can continue to improve Navy Paddles and the online user experience.

We appreciate your support of our veteran-owned small business and can’t wait to provide even better service and benefits to our community thanks to the PenFed Foundation, MidCountry Bank, and the Ignition Challenge!

Follow us on Instagram to see more of what we’re up to!

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