An event connecting veteran entrepreneurs is making waves in Kansas City.
Led by the Veteran Leadership Network and other local organizations, the next the Purple Connection will be held April 12 at the GRID Collaborative Workspaces. Community organizer Jesse Beaudin said this is the third iteration of the event series, and he was surprised by the turnout — which exceeded 75 people last month.
A veteran himself, Beaudin is also the founder of Teir 1 Performance, a government sales resource firm. Beaudin said that veterans are taught leadership skills at a young age and he wanted to connect with a group of likeminded individuals.
“The cool thing about the veteran community is that if you meet another veteran, there is a common bond there,” Beaudin said. “It’s important for us to work together and help each other. Since we share common experience, we speak the same language.”
Beaudin has large visions for what the Purple Connection could turn into, but it initially includes networking, veteran entrepreneur expos and panel discussions.
The upcoming panel on April 12 will feature: Maj. Wade Abel, an administrator from the veteran student department at Park University, David Bann, vice president of sales and operations at StreetShares; Ray Dick, vice president of technology innovation programs at the National Security Technology Accelerator; Mark Naster, Bunker Labs consultant; and Jordan Svancara, a Microsoft startup technical evangelist.
Local firms including KC Drone Company, Veteran Community Project and Liberty Candles will be showcasing their business.
Beaudin said that the veteran entrepreneurial community currently exists in a silo. He hopes that events such as this one will help “vetrepreneurs” such as himself connect with the greater Kansas City startup ecosystem.
“We’re a part of the Kansas City fabric and we add value in our own colorful way,” Beaudin said. “We don’t want to be seen as different we don’t want special treatment — we want to show you that we’re a premiere group of people and we intend to try and give back to the city as much as any other group.”
To RSVP to the event, click here.