Veteran recounts her experience at Boots to Business Reboot and first efforts with her TJP mentor

Contributed by Monica Vasquez, one of The Jonas Project’s Veteran Owned Businesses.

The Boots to Business Reboot was a phenomenal experience for me!  The Reboot was a two-day seminar, hosted by the Small Business Association, to provide veteran entrepreneurs with information about opportunities available specifically to them.  The main focus of the seminar was to stress the importance of establishing a strong foundation for our businesses from the very beginning, and to provide us with several resources available to guide us in the right direction.  There were representatives from the Small Business Development Center, SCORE counselors which are retired business professionals who offer free business counseling and assistance, founders and of successful small businesses, as well as various lending sources ranging from bank representatives and crowd funding experts, to venture capitalists and angel investors.

One of the most crucial aspects of the Reboot was the networking opportunity it provided.  For two days we were surrounded by like-minded individuals, and successful business owners who were once in our very shoes. Each speaker offered us their insight to the business world, and more importantly, passed on their personal information so that each of us could reach out to them with any questions we may have. Since the Reboot, I’ve already had a meeting with the City of Fort Worth’s Housing and Economic Development Department’s Domestic and International Business Recruitment Manager, Mr. Robert B. Sturns, Business Development Manager, Mr. Socorro Gray, and Senior Contract Compliance Specialist, Ms. Melani Villarreal.  I’ve also got future appointments with the North Texas Small Business Development Center to assist me with the Financial Projection portion of my Business Plan, as well as the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association located in Dallas, Texas.

Overall, I was thankful to be chosen to participate in this program, as space was limited.  This seminar really made me think outside the box, and highlighted everything from just how important an “elevator pitch” can be, to exactly what bankers are looking for when deciding whether to invest in your company or not.

About my Jonas Project mentor Mrs. Lisa Pacheco - Being partnered with Mrs. Lisa has been one of the most rewarding experiences thus far.  From the moment I first spoke with her I could sense her excitement to be working with me, as I’m sure she could sense mine. One of the first things she wants to do for me is get me connected with a Project Manager that has done several construction projects at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C.,  which is the largest military hospital in the U.S. She believes his expertise will prove to be a valuable asset for me.

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