Deploying The Boots To Bootstrapping Microloan Program

Boots To Bootstrapping will be SBA microloan fund targeting post 9-11 veterans seeking to achieve self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.

Photo of Gregory Pickett
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  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Man

Where are you making a difference?

Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Area
Washington DC
Northern Virginia

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started


Organization Type

  • hybrid

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)


  • $250k - $500k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

Twitter URL

LinkedIn URL

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

My "Aha" moment came early in my banking career whilst working as a management trainee in the local bank branch located on the Army base at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville NC. That experience was the most impressionable in my career because I got to see first hand the hardships that service members and their families were facing as they served our country. I saw young families impacted by chronic instability as a result of multiple deployments, bad credit, spouse unemployment and predatory lending at it'd worse. Young soldiers were being sold credit products that were simply irresponsible in terms, rates and fee structures, which placed additional stress factors on their families. That experience inspired me to create the B2B Fund.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Problem: Access to responsible capital for transitioning military veteran entrepreneurs and their spouses. This is a persistent problem because of the negative impact of their military life experience on the credit readiness

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Solution: Our solution to the access to responsible capital problem is to integrate the Boots to Bootstrapping microloan product into the Boots to Business development and entrepreneurship education curriculum. This methodology promotes veterans financial literacy and capability

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

Challenge: Sergeant Smith never expected to be his own boss. After all, he was used to following orders after 20 years in the Air Force. “When I was in the military, everything was a checklist. I knew where to go, how to do it,” he says. But then he got a job as the training director at a security company, and he decided he wanted to run his own show.
What worked: When Smith started 3D Security Training Solutions, he’d had very little business training. Then he learned that veterans were eligible for the Boots to Business courses sponsored nationwide by the Small Business Administration. “They taught me about bank loans and how to make a business plan,” says Smith, who tapped his savings and his credit card to get the business going. “Six months after we opened, we broke even.”
Proudest moment: “The second quarter of this year, I received a paycheck as a CEO,” Smith says

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We serve service disabled veteran owned businesses, women owned small businesses and minority owned small businesses, which all are considered underserved, socially and economically disadvantaged . The Boots to Bootstrapping Microloan would support the startup bootstrapping phase.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • ability
  • illness
  • work status
  • race/ethnicity
  • gender
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other loan providers in the marketplace including online lenders. The Boots to Bootstrapping program differs from the competition in that it would be directly introduced to veterans early in their development stage and they would have personal knowledge of how credit products are structured and priced.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Client Story
Staci L. Redmon is the President and CEO of Strategy and Management Services, Inc. (SAMS). Founded in 2008, SAMS is an award-winning, SBA 8(a) program participant, verified SDVOSB, EDWOSB, SBA-certified SDB small business that provides operations support, information technology services, facilities management functions, and a range of enterprise-wide solutions for federal agencies, state and local governments, and commercial buyers. Ms. Redmon believes in providing Veterans opportunities and access to educational resources to stimulate growth and propel their careers. Since its founding, SAMS has grown rapidly, achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 199% each year from 2008-2014. SAMS has won accolades that include the Inc. 500/5000 (ranked #761 in 2015), Washington Technology’s Fast 50. We made her a microloan in 2008 to start her business.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Scaling Strategy: Align the Boots to Bootstrapping with the national Boots to Business Entrepreneurial Training Program. A cloud based lending platform will allow us to deliver our product by integrating it into the access to capital module within the Boots to Business curriculum.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Large Scale Partnerships
  • Federations, Associations

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Interest Income from loan portfolio growth, Loan Fees, Business Advisory Fees
Grants: SBA, CDFI Fund, Bank Foundations,

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Founder & Managing Member- 30 year career banking professional.
10 Member Advisory Committee that represents the target market. Professional and Business Owners.
Social Capital Advisory Firm- provide coaching

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Other

If you replied "Other" in the question above, please specify. (optional)

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Greg Rawski

Perhaps partner with a local university, especially yellow ribbon schools. Students are passionate about social innovation and may be able to help in a number of ways ... social media, class projects, reviewing loans, etc. May be a good idea to put one faculty member from a university on your 10 member advisory board.