The Military Entrepreneur Challenge is a nationwide grant program that gives veteran, military spouse, and Gold Star Family entrepreneurs the opportunity to network, learn, and compete for capital to grow their small business.
The Military Entrepreneur Challenge (MEC) is a three-part event led by the Second Service Foundation with support from our partners: the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Holland & Knight LLP, and the Brewing the American Dream Program by Sam Adams.
The event includes a speed coaching session, private pitch session to a judging panel, and finally an opportunity to pitch business ideas to a live audience for a chance to win a small business grant.
Register online for Speed Coaching at the Military Entrepreneur Challenge to reserve your spot. You must attend speed coaching to be eligible to pitch.
Check out the resources below to help you create your business one-pager. One-pagers are required to apply for our pitch competition.
When your one-pager is complete, you are ready to submit your application to the Military Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. Find the application for your event below or on the event page.
Once accepted to the pitch competition, prepare for your pitch, so you can impress the judges and move to the challenge round.
Time to pitch! Give us your very best 2 minute pitch about your business ideas.
The Military Entrepreneur Challenge is three-part event designed for military-affiliated entrepreneurs and small business owners.
You must register and attend speed coaching to be eligible to participate in the pitch competition. Registration numbers are limited based on venue.
Once you are registered for the event, continue the steps below to prepare to apply for the Military Entrepreneur Challenge pitch competition.
As part of the pitch competition application, you will create and submit a business one pager, utilizing the Second Service Foundation’s business one-pager template.
Your business one pager will be utilized during the initial finalist selection by Second Service Foundation staff, and it will be provided to the judging panel during the Military Entrepreneur Challenge.
For the National Military Entrepreneur Challenge, applicants will also complete a short video submission. The link to the video submission requirements will be sent after you complete the online application and submit your one pager.
Find an event and apply for your chance to participate in our Military Entrepreneur Challenge (MEC) pitch competition. Applications open at least 30 days prior to each event. Please check our event page to find the event closest to you.
Your application and business one pager will be evaluated by a review panel. Once the panel makes their decisions, applicants will be informed if they were selected as a Semi-Finalist.
Once you receive the email that you were selected as a Semi-Finalist in the pitch competition, prepare for your pitch so you can impress the judges during Round 1, and be selected to move to the challenge round.
Our pitch competition has two rounds. The first round has our Semi-Finalists pitch privately to a panel of esteemed judges. Judges in the past have included the co-founder of R. Riveter, a partner of Holland and Knight LLP, and Director of Military Events for Recurrent.
Semi-Finalists deliver their two-minute pitch to the judging panel in private. The judges will have three minutes for follow-up questions, and then they will deliberate based on the Second Service Foundation scoring guidelines to determine which Semi-Finalists will move forward to Round 2.
The Military Entrepreneur Challenge (MEC) is the Second Service Foundation’s coaching, networking, and pitch competition event for military-connected entrepreneurs. We have several regional MEC events across the country throughout the year, providing much-needed start-up capital and pro bono legal services for small businesses, as well as a national MEC event that culminates at the end of the year at the annual Military Influencer Conference.
Complete the Military Entrepreneur Challenge Application. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when application will be open for the next pitch competition.
The following are the criteria we look for in deciding which entrepreneurs receive funding:
Grants and other prizes vary based on event. Please see our event pages for specific grant amounts and other sponsor-donated services.
Grant Winners must complete all compliance to claim award money within three (3) months of competition completion, otherwise the grant will be forfeit.