Mike Pollack Jr., Veteran, Class of ‘14
“Well, I am officially retired. I left my job at the Department of Veteran Affairs Regional Office on June 12th. I did this to follow my dream of opening The Salad Car, LLC. I left 100% on faith. I could have stayed and continued to "make easy money". But, a piece of me was dying inside, and once you get this entrepreneurial bug, it's hard to shake it. I can honestly say, if I did NOT do this business, I could not live with myself. This is my dream, and now my fulltime job. I'm excited about the future...
I am just returning from Virginia Beach because I am looking to replicate my same business model there. Had a meeting with some possible business partners as we are looking to combine our resources and create one brand under The Salad Car.
As for here, I had a meeting with Andrew at Grand Bank and we came up with a checklist of what The Salad Car will need to apply for the loan. I have finalized my food truck design and the builder is waiting to get started. Currently negotiating with a landlord and drafting a Letter of Intent for me to rent a location in Delanco that will be my food truck commissary. I have finalized my menu, price points, and packaging. Still working on building my recipe stacks and sizing the recipes for my employees for training. Awaiting final quotes on all of the insurance required. Just received my finalized equipment list quote from Restaurant Equippers, I have established accounts at all of my required wholesalers and produce vendors. In addition, I have established secondary and tertiary levels for both.
With all that being said, I am looking at a late February opening with a no later than date of 4 March 2016. My goal is to have the loan approved by November and to take off from there. Scheduled for a January delivery of the food truck. This will give me time to train my staff for a few weeks while at the same time learning my operation prior to opening.”
Luisa Sanchez, Veteran, Class of ‘15
“As a Military Veteran in search of my next venture in life, I decided to start my own business. My dream is to be able to assist individuals in maintaining a good quality of life by providing nutritional supplements and wellness services. Although I knew what I wanted to do, I had no idea how to start. After sharing my dream with a colleague, he recommended I apply to the Veterans Entrepreneur Program at Rider University.
I attended this program in the summer of 2015. By attending this program, I had the opportunity to learn topics such as business operations and financial management as well as market research. Although the assignments were demanding, I was able to have a better understanding of organizing my thoughts and worked on the different sections of a business plan. Throughout the program, I communicated with Lisa, the mentor in which I was assigned. She helped me with several questions I had and I finished the program with the understanding that it takes more than a dream to accomplish the opening of a business.
In May 2015, I was invited to attend the GrowCo event in Las Vegas. This event was attended by thousands of entrepreneurs and business leaders who are interested in achieving growth within their organization. GrowCo showed me that I am not alone and even the most successful business owners are actively searching for new ideas on how to expand their business.
Recently I met with Dr. Cook, Entrepreneurial studies Director at Rider University and I shared my experience at the GrowCo event. Dr. Cook made me aware of several new programs that are available to Veterans who completed the Entrepreneurial Program. One of the highlighted programs is the Rider University Student Venture Fund. This program will provide an individual with up to a $5,000 no interest business loan. Another benefit to the program, is the availability of an attorney and accountant sponsors who are available to assist Veterans by providing advice at no cost. The last benefit Dr Cook referenced was the Co-Op program. This program involves a Rider University student who will be assigned a Veteran for a period of time and assist them in the development of their business.
I have encountered several obstacles while pursuing my dream of owning a business however, I am thankful for the assistance I have received from the Veteran Entrepreneur Program at Rider University. I am definitely taking advantage of all the available programs in order to continue my journey for a successful business.”