After retiring from the military in 2013 with 22 years of service, Alejandro Ramirez started his own business.
Ramirez said his family-owned, online store, Universal Spartan – where shoppers can find military, law enforcement, self-defense, hunting, camping and survival gear – has grown over the years, becoming a thriving business.
Now, he wants to help fellow veteran entrepreneurs thrive through the creation of the Kentucky Veteran Business Alliance.
The mission of the alliance, he said, is to “unite, empower and provide networking and resources to all veteran businesses in order to create a esprit de Corp, unity of effort, new businesses and new jobs for all veterans, the community and the state of Kentucky.”
Ramirez, 46, of Hardin County, said the idea for the alliance came to him two years ago when he was speaking with fellow veterans who also were successful business owners.
“As veterans, you get out and you want to help each other out because that is what you dealt with while you were in,” he said. “You’re helping out a veteran, plus you are actually bringing that relationship back that you kind of lose when you get out of military.”
Ramirez said the goal is to create an environment where all veteran businesses in the community and state are united and work together, create new businesses and increase the job force within the Kentucky Veteran Business Alliance.
“That is really when businesses start succeeding is when they are all together,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said the Kentucky Veteran Business Alliance also will look to develop an information operation plan to attract more veterans that are transitioning from the military to join the alliance. The alliance will look to guide and mentor new veterans on how to be an entrepreneur and how to create a new business.
Ramirez said Kentucky Innovation Network Director Lisa Boone, Patricia Krausman of the Small Business Development Center and retired Col. Darrall Henderson, director of Procurement and Technical Assistance — which assists veterans with obtaining government contracts and obtaining needed certifications — all have been supportive in his endeavor of creating the alliance.
Boone said they think it is critical for entrepreneurs to network and to support each other in all aspects of business.
“Veteran-owned businesses are certainly a unique group with a rich pool of assets and a vast array of talent. We want these innovative entrepreneurs to get to know each other, to support each other and to be a network that is aware of business opportunities, government contracts and ways to expand their business horizons,” she said. “We are looking forward to the sense of camaraderie that we anticipate will be created.”