Reston Startup StreetShares Recognized by Governor for Work with Veterans

CEO Mark Rockefeller and Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe - StreetShares

A Reston startup run by veterans, for veterans has been honored by the Commonwealth of Virginia for its efforts.

StreetShares, a small-business funding operation geared toward military vets, has received recognition as a certified company by Virginia Values Veterans. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe presented a first-place award from the program to CEO Mark Rockefeller during a Wednesday ceremony at the company’s headquarters (1985 Isaac Newton Square West).

“Exactly what you’re doing, we’re trying to do at the state level,” McAuliffe said. “We’ll be the first state in the United States of America that actually does that, to help our veterans who want to be entrepreneurs who need a little lift there.”

StreetShares has facilitated more than 1,000 loans for veteran-owned small businesses across the country, with many of those coming in Virginia.

“When I came back from Iraq in December of ’08, I realized that I was representative of a generation of veterans who would want to start businesses the way that our grandparents did after World War II,” said Rockefeller, a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “We had to solve that, as veterans do, by turning to each other — and that is what StreetShares does.”

John Harvey, Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, spoke during the event to praise both McAuliffe’s and StreetShares’ commitment to the commonwealth’s veterans.

“You invest in Virginia’s veterans and you invest in Virginia,” Harvey said. “It’s just the perfect combination for growth, for building that new Virginia economy that’s so important to our future.”

Also during the ceremony, McAuliffe announced that he is expanding the V3 program’s goal for hiring veterans within the state. Originally aiming for 10,000 veteran hires by the end of his term, the new goal calls for 25,000.

Rockefeller said StreetShares would continue to do all it can to help toward the goal.

“The businesses that we are funding, each of them goes on to hire veterans, just like we have,” he said. “StreetShares wants to commit to funding companies to produce 1,000 of those [hires] toward [McAuliffe’s] 25,000 goal in the next 12 months.”

Each month, the StreetShares Foundation names 10 veteran-owned small businesses from across the nation as finalists for grant funding, made possible through a partnership with JPMorgan Chase. Online voting determines the top 3, which receive grants for $5,000 (first), $3,000 (second) and $2,000 (third).

This month’s finalists were announced at Wednesday’s event:

Nicole Amelio-Casper, Amelio Media LLC (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Keith King, National Veteran Business Development Council (Detroit, Michigan)

Meegan Mackay, Artes pro Vita Academy (Altus, Oklahoma)

Chris Nichols, Narrows Hill LLC (Swanton, Maryland)

Richard Sanders, SHplates (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, Gracefully Global Group LLC (Hayward, California)

Scott Tucker, Be Financially Fit (San Diego, California)

John Van Horn, Veteran Unmanned Solutions LLC (Marietta, Georgia)

Jaime Velez, PingMomo (Chicago, Illinois)

Brian Zimmerman, Income Designers (Castle Rock, Colorado)

Voting will be available on the foundation’s website.

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