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Copy of 2018-09-24 MIC pt2 (869)

The finalists for the Burt Williams Memorial Veteran Small Business Award are here!

They were graded objectively on: their business idea; how they plan to use the award; product-market fit; company history and their social impact on the military community.

We've made our decision, now it's time to tell us who you think should travel to MGM National Harbor to pitch live.

Awards are as follows:

1st Place: $25,000

2nd Place: $15,000

3rd Place: $10,000

Place Your Vote Now!

Please vote for one veteran entrepreneur. The Foundation will tally the points and the three veteran entrepreneurs with the highest vote count will travel to MGM National Harbor to pitch live at BourBiz.

Bobby  Carbonell, Growler Country

Brett D'Alessandro, Backpacks for Life

George Zwierko, Action Zone, Inc.

Growler Country opened its doors in 2014 as Florida’s first growler filling station. Our model is different than other craft beer bars because of our atmosphere, service and selection. We had a hunch that normal working adults wanted laid back neighborhood bar that served great craft beer; and we were right! Four years later we were named the Best Craft Beer Bar in Florida by Craftbeer.com. 

Our pub is open six days a week and serves the best local, regional and national beer brands as well as wine and cider. We have an incredible fan base with over 2,000 customers enrolled in our Growler Country “Citizens” loyalty program. In 2016 we added a small kitchen and created a unique menu that has been a huge hit with our customers and added a significant second revenue stream.

After perfecting our model over the past five years, we are ready to expand by franchising our concept and allowing others to share in the success of Growler Country. We differentiate our model from the others by focusing on smaller locations with less required capital outlay thus making the franchise in reach of average Joe’s everywhere who want to own their own business.

Growler Country is a veteran-owned and operated business which hires veterans and gives back to veteran causes through events, fundraisers and donations. As we expand we intend to ensure that this veteran-focused culture is ingrained into every franchisee’s operation. Veterans would make the ideal Growler Country franchisee, and we intend to actively pursue veterans who want to partner with us on creating great local craft beer bars across the country. We’re committed to making sure our franchise is an affordable and profitable business that anyone with the drive, passion and desire can open and operate successfully.







Vote Bobby Carbonell

Backpacks For Life is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that serves the homeless and at-risk veteran community. Through distributing backpacks and coaching/mentorship, Backpacks For Life supports veterans and their families by effectively connecting them with resources, programs and care that suits their unique situation. To date, our organization has distributed over 5,600 backpacks to veterans in 13 states. Each backpack is filled with quality toiletries, supplies and resources information. A backpack is not only a symbol of hope but for many, it is their mobile home. After 4 years of distributing backpacks from outside suppliers, we decided to design and engineer a backpack specifically with a homeless veteran in mind. With feedback and input received from hundreds of veterans, we incorporated various safety and security features inside our backpack so that our veterans can not only survive the streets but work to get off them more easily. The Bowery Pack is a patent-pending, carry-on approved sized backpack which features water resistant material, a locking mechanism, an accordion style sleep mat, a whistle sternum clip and more. The various components enhance the general function of what a backpack can be for our veterans. The Bowery Pack is manufactured in Boone, North Carolina. We’ve partnered up with 501c3 organization, OVAAT (One Veteran At A Time), to provide transitioning military and student veterans the opportunity to work at our manufacturing facility to learn skills like 3D printing, product development, fulfillment and more. The Bowery Pack gives back to our veterans in more ways than one; providing training and job opportunities to transitioning veterans and giving our homeless veterans the hope they need to get back on their feet. The Bowery Pack is also available for purchase; for each one purchase, a portion of those proceeds go towards a backpack for a veteran.









Vote Brett D'Alessandro


Action Zone is an entrepreneur support organization (ESO) built by Veterans for Veterans. We provide education and resources to Veterans, Active Duty, Reservists, National Guard, and their spouses and dependent children of any age. We help them transition from the military mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset then transform them from the service member to the business owner, with the tools they need to ensure economic success post service.

Veterans work collaboratively and with expert guidance provided by serial entrepreneurs who are also members of the military community. From mindset to validation, building their business model and discovering their own business management prowess, Action Zone delivers a holistic, hands on approach with one-on-one and group interactions to develop a sustainable business.

Purposefully to provide networking opportunities for the entire community of entrepreneurs, we deliver Mission in Motion workshops throughout the region covering practical application topics business owners need to strengthen and grow their business. We also bring local entrepreneurs to the stage for intimate conversations sharing valuable lessons and forming connections within the community.

Collaborating with local ESOs, Veterans in the region are offered free co-working space and valuable links to and preparation for incubators and accelerators in the region. We are the host partner for Bunker Labs, the national network of Veteran entrepreneurs dedicated to helping new Veteran entrepreneurs start their own business. Working with internationally renowned Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, we are working on a project for a Veteran-specific educational platform to serve our aspiring Veteran entrepreneurs across the country.

With the StreetShares’ grant, Action Zone will be able to expand programming to not only Veterans and those still serving, but to their spouses and dependents as well. We hope this grant is the start we need to help us bring our entrepreneurial education resources to military families nationwide.


Vote George Zwierko


Lynn Coffland, Catch a Lift Fund

Shakeia Kegler, GovLia

Don Tobul, OD Greens LLC

Founded in memory of Army Cpl. Chris Coffland following his death in Afghanistan in 2009, the Catch A Lift Fund's mission is to provide combat wounded veterans with wellness grants, enabling them to heal through physical fitness. The Catch A Lift Fund is a national 501(c)(3), that has provided over 5000 fitness grants to wounded veterans across the U.S. By focusing on fitness and wellness as a holistic recovery, CAL ensures a healthy future for our veterans. Our programs provide fitness memberships, adaptive home gym equipment, personalized exercise and nutrition plans, peer support networking and Fitness Career Education. To date, thousands of veterans in the CAL program have lost weight, reduced medications, increased overall feelings of wellness, re-established relationships, and re-integrated themselves into their communities. Engaging in physical activity is a necessary lifestyle habit that benefits each veteran's current state of health and sets the groundwork for a productive and healthy future. CAL's approach to a veteran's health is combined with a physical fitness regimen that fits the veteran's personal needs, injuries, and lifestyle. Every member agrees to and is held accountable to working out three times per week. Mandatory check-ins are tracked through our proprietary Member Dashboard in which health reports, created in partnership with Randolph Macon's Psychology Department, are collected and documented into their personal file. Through our customized Salesforce database, each veteran's health and wellness data is collected (weight, number of medications, mental wellness, social support, etc.) CAL integrates valuable community outreach to all our members sending the message 'you are not alone on your journey'. Through CAL Certified Veteran coaches, Landing Zone Community page, Vet Outreach calls, and Warrior Fit Summits, CAL brings together Veterans and communities throughout the U.S. with fitness.







Vote Lynn Coffland

GovLia, a combination of government liaison, simplifies state and local procurement processes, by allowing small and diverse businesses to create one profile, one time to register, apply for certifications, and sell to multiple municipalities in a centralized cloud-based platform.

As a direct result, we will solve the problems for both local governments and small businesses regarding lack knowledge of small, veteran, minority, or women-owned businesses, access to opportunities, and low business participation in government procurement.

The funds will allow us to maintain and add to the developed platform, to create additional revenue streams such as adding features for premium subscription packages. It will also allow us to increase marketing and sales outreach budget giving us the ability to create training content to increase awareness and education around public procurement, that is how we will grow GovLia and our communities!

Shakeia Kegler is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GovLia. Her experience in the Navy as a supply manager and upon separation of service selling to the government, fueled the creation of GovLia, while participating in a startup accelerator.

Grecia Smith is GovLia’s Chief Operations Officer, she manages operations and coordinates partnerships at GovLia. She is also a Navy Veteran and has experience working for a local city government. 

Tangy Frederick is a software engineer and the Chief Technology Officer of GovLia. She has years of experience in developing solutions that solve complex problems.

GovLia is the epitome of innovation when it comes to local government procurement. Our solution not only simplifies government contracting, but it also increases economic opportunities for small, veteran, women, and minority owned businesses and the communities we represent.




Vote Shakeia Kegler

OD Greens LLC is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business currently working to provide locally grown, hydroponic produce to restaurants, markets, and individual clients. 

Phase 1: We have moved into our 40’ shipping container which allows us to grow the equivalent of 2 (traditionally farmed) acres. Since we grow vertically, our footprint is significantly reduced. Also, we recycle the water pulled from the air, reducing our water use to 10% of the demands of traditional farming.

Phase 2: Will incorporate work training services for other disabled military veterans, using hydroponic growing as a platform for their experiential education and personal/professional development.

OD Greens LLC believes that healthy, civically engaged communities are a powerful force in the fights for fresh, healthy food and against hunger. Because of this, we have designed our products to strengthen the ties between people. Local agriculture offers not only a chance to grow local economies, but it also strengthens the bonds between people within communities. We believe that knowing the person who grows your food and where your food comes from should be an important part of the American lifestyle. 

Furthermore, growth through farming provides a perfect metaphor for the development of our participating veterans. While working in daily operations of the farm, veterans will hone workplace skills and adapt them for success in the civilian environment, and directly observe the benefit they can have on their community.









Vote Don Tobul

Julius Hahn, Kiddos 101

Kimberly DeFiori,  Badges United Foundation

Delmer Quick, Olinkz International LLC

Kiddos 101 was established in 2015, inspired by our two children, now ages four and six. I embarked on this journey, with my wife, determined to build a safe and comfortable space where caregivers and children visit regularly. A place where people walk in and everyone knows each other’s names and their childrens’ names, exhibiting signs of a tight-knit community, so often missing from our lives. 

Kiddos 101 is a thoughtfully designed space where families, military and civilian, build a stronger community by forging stronger relationships. We are located only a few miles from March AFB and it is an honor to serve many fellow service members, veterans, and their families. Adults find support from other caregivers, adult interaction, a relaxing atmosphere, and the opportunity to build a relational community. This place is as much for the adults as it is for the kiddos.

We are a child-led learning environment and kids club, designed to meet important developmental milestones of children six and under. Our baby area provides children 24 months and under a space that includes tummy time stations, dexterity toys, mirror play for raising self-awareness, a baby book library, and sensory play. For ages two to six years, early developmental opportunities include physical exercise, open ended play, use of imagination, career costumes, socialization, a sense of security, and building self-esteem. 

If awarded, the funds will be utilized to expand our business in order to provide more enrichment opportunities for families to include materials for new exhibits and updates to the space, as well as capital toward a second location. 

Kiddos 101 is a sanctuary for members in the community to meet friends and make friends and where children can think, teach, learn, and play. Thank you for your consideration. Semper Fidelis.






 Vote Julius Hahn


We have an epidemic in our nation, and hardly anyone is addressing it. For the past three years, are First Responders have been more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. Across the United States, our First Responders are having recruiting and retention issues. Law Enforcement Departments are working with fewer Officers while responding to more violent calls. This has depleted our First Responders physical and mental health. What would happen in the future if we call 911, and no one was there to respond? We have to address this before it is too late.
Badges United Foundation (BUF) is a nonprofit organization that enhances First Responders’ overall wellness through exercise, nutrition and sleep education so they can be physically and mentally prepared to serve our communities tomorrow.

BUF does three things for our First Responders. First, we host free recreational activities for our First Responders and their significant others while teaching wellness principles along the way. Participants expand their wellness knowledge they can implement tonight, and they also grow their social support system. Second, we consult departments on their wellness initiatives given their budget and resource constraints. Lastly, we host wellness workshops where we evaluate individuals values and develop wellness goals for them to pursue. During the workshop, we also instruct realistic nutrition, exercise practices, and sleep tips they can utilize to achieve their wellness goals.

BUF is validating our model in the Washington DC area then expanding to a chapter system nationwide. 

We have served 500 First Responders and personally trained 52 First Responders on their wellness. We are continuing to host events and beginning our wellness workshops in April 2019. 
Please help us get to our First Responders before it is too late.






Vote Kimberly DeFiori

The name of the business is Olinkz International that is incorporated as a Limited Liability Company under the US Law. Company provides complete drug and alcohol counseling to individuals and organizations, substance abuse counseling and testing, and drug testing training services to companies. Olinkz International’s purpose of existence is to help people realize importance of avoiding drug and alcohol and make American society a great society to live. Considering the diverse nature of needs and wants of individuals and organizations we have designed customized solutions. Currently, Olinkz International aims to serve individuals in adult care, foster care, government and private mental hospitals, schools, semi-independent living homes, and organizations in Michigan US. Moreover, substance abuse testing and counseling, and drug testing services are purely designed developed for organizations. Launching complete drug and alcohol counseling to individuals and organizations, substance abuse counseling and testing, and drug testing training services to companies is great opportunity. Drug addiction and alcohol usage have become the biggest issue for US where mainly adults and younger people are heavenly involved drug addiction and alcohol. Even though there are lot of organizations which provide drug addiction and alcohol counseling and testing services in US particularly Michigan, but still there is great market gap. Youngsters and adults need highly customized services which helps them to get rid of drug and alcohol addiction. For that pursuit Olinkz International is great company which aims to serve the diverse counseling and testing needs of drug and alcohol addicts. In addition to that rising substance abuse issues in institutes and organizations have become big issue for organizations in Michigan. Even though large number of companies provide substance abuse counseling and testing services, but still the issue remains at peak. In effect, it has created market opportunity for Olinkz International to provide substance abuse counseling and testing services. Moreover, drug testing is also one of the emerging industries of US where organizations need different drug testing training services for employees. And Olinkz International has also planned to serve drug testing training needs of organizations.



Vote Delmer Quick

John Noll, Swatara Coffee Company, LLC

Eve Barrett, Expedite Legal

Michael Steadman,  IRONBOUND Boxing

Swatara Coffee Company has its origins in Afghanistan nearly seven years ago. John started dreaming of opening a coffee shop--and even began writing the business plan--during a year-long deployment. Within a year of separating from the Navy, John opened SCC's doors to the public in a rehabbed, antebellum building near Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.

SCC has garnered local, national, and international media attention (https://swataracoffee.com/about/in-the-media/) for our hyperlocal sourcing, celebration and elevation of the flavors of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the work we are doing in our community to revitalize our town's downtown business district.

We celebrate our community by working with our neighbors and businesses in rural Pennsylvania and have seen that by choosing local and small, we’re able to have a big impact on our community.

Swatara Coffee Company honors its beginnings in the military through a discount for military members, free coffee giveaways for veterans and military members on Veterans Day, and coffee giveaways for spouses on ""Deployments Suck"" Days. 

We are excited to expand Swatara Coffee Company and continue our mission to enhance the lives of our neighbors. Military families are uprooted and the feelings accompanying moving can be stressful. If awarded this grant we will build on our successes and expand our community programs and events.











 Vote John Noll


Each year, over 600,000 legal proceedings are canceled, delayed or rescheduled due to the antiquated process of securing legal support services. That's why I created Expedite. Expedite is a first-to-market on-demand legal support services platform that is changing the way attorneys and paralegals locate, schedule, and pay for qualified court reporters, videographers, interpreters, mobile videoconference techs, notaries public and couriers. Much like Uber, Expedite utilizes GPS-enabled smartphone technology to take out the middleman, allowing attorneys and paralegals to instantly locate the closest-available provider with the highest rating, often finding the right resources in seconds. Expedite streamlines resources and helps avoid costly delays. Every service provider is screened by Expedite’s operations team and is continually monitored by the app’s provider rating system to ensure ongoing quality service. Customers benefit from standardized pricing, as well as quick, convenient service; service providers benefit from a centralized source of work with no marketing costs.

We launched the company in August of 2017 and launched the app, Expedite, in April 2018. We have over 900 users in Tampa Bay signed on with the platform. 

We are a military-strong company. Our team consists of several military veterans from various branches. The female founder is a US Army veteran of 5 years; the COO is a retired, disabled US Army veteran; the Director of Marketing is a navy/marines veteran of 11 years; and our strategist is a marines veteran of 5 years. Our goal is to continue to support our fellow brothers/sisters-in-arms through Wounded Warrior Project. A portion of the proceeds from each transaction through Expedite will go to Wounded Warrior.

We are currently seeking funds to scale into new 3 new markets, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. Marketing and sales in these areas is our focus.






Vote Eve Barrett


The data is in! The value of employee fitness is no longer debated. Besides the intrinsic value of better health, physical fitness leads to more productive, happier employees who add more value, less absenteeism, and increased corporate engagement. Despite the benefits of consistent exercise, time and a lack of convenience are often the biggest hindrance to employee fitness. Our solution, is IRONBOUND Boxing. 

IRONBOUND Boxing is a veteran owned health & wellness company that connects companies, organizations, and communities, with on-site boxing instructors. We partner with HR directors, managers of People & Culture, CEOs, Office Managers, Wellness Directors, and other internal company stakeholders committed to boosting employee wellbeing. IRONBOUND Boxing was founded by Marine Corps Veteran and 3X National Collegiate Boxing Champion, Mike Steadman. Our clients include WeWork, Spotify, and Next Jump. Proceeds from all our classes support the IRONBOUND Boxing Academy, our free boxing gym for youth & young adults in Newark, NJ. 

IRONBOUND Boxing is based in Newark, NJ and targets New York City Metro Area companies. Our core values are personal growth, social impact, and economic empowerment. Not only do we improve our clients morale and self-confidence through boxing, we support inner-city amateur boxing programs, and train & employ members of the veteran community. 

In February of 2017, my team and I launched the IRONBOUND Boxing Academy to provide a haven from the streets for Newark youth. In order to the fund the Academy, we launched IRONBOUND Boxing as a separate entity from the gym, with the intent to help fund it. Over the last two years, we’ve been featured on multiple national media outlets including Fox News, CBS, and various other platforms.

The money from Street Shares foundation will help us expand our business by hiring and training more veteran boxing instructors.




Vote Michael Steadman


Anthony Gantt, Gantt Knight Ram LLC

Mark Pasek, The Hurricane Drive

Chris Cruise, Cruise Customs Flags

Gantt Knight Ram (GKR) LLC is a military owned and operated business focused on helping our military community ease the stress associated with a permanent change of station (PCS). We saw a need for change in the lodging accommodations of military families and decided to be the change. We will provide affordable and accommodating short term rental homes and apartments to service members and their families. Our company is unique because our homes will meet the Department of Defense's criteria making our short term rental rate reimbursable!






 Vote Anthony Gantt


The Hurricane Drive is a Patent Pending Radial Constant Variable Transmission (CVT) that is being developed for a bicycles.

The Radial CVT is a low cost and lightweight transmission that can be utilized by many different types of machines, such as bicycles and windmills. The CVT can be controlled by manually by the user, or automatically controlled to reach a desired output.

We plan to use the award to further strengthen our IP and develop additional prototypes to demonstrate the Radial CVT's capabilities.





Vote Mark Pasek



For Chris Cruise, it’s not about creating art. It’s about creating new meaning. Chris is a combat veteran who turned his passion for crafting American flags out of Kentucky bourbon barrels into something much greater.

From the distilleries and cooperages in Louisville, to his workshop, all the way down to the handful of veterans he’s hired to help make these patriotic masterpieces—every single step of the process is American built through and through.

It’s not lost on Chris that there’s a unique metaphor in re purposing bourbon barrels into American flags. As he puts it, veterans once served a great purpose serving our country, and bourbon barrels once served a great purpose holding bourbon. Now the two have found new purpose together.

Vote Chris Cruise