Lock-n-Load Java, a veteran-owned coffee and cocoa business, has been selected to participate in Inc. magazine’s GROWCO 2012 event this week in New Orleans.
The event features a program and curriculum aimed at helping rising entrepreneurs make it onto the Inc. 5000 list or climb higher in its ranks. According to Inc.com, its list of small companies created 370,592 jobs in the past three years.
Cottonwood Heights residents Carl and Lori Churchill launched their online java business at www.locknloadjava.com in April, sending premium coffees to customers and troops stateside and beyond, along with donating dollars to veteran-friendly charities.
The startup will be part of GROWCO’s military entrepreneurs special delegation. In 2011, Inc. initiated the Military Entrepreneur’s Program to educate service members and their families about the nuts and bolts of launching a small business.
“We are very proud to be chosen for this honor and excited about the opportunity to meet and network with other ‘vetrepreneurs’ and small-business owners,” said Carl Churchill, a retired lieutenant colonel who served nine years on active duty and 12 years in the Army Reserves.
The conference, which began Monday and runs through Wednesday, includes sessions with former President Bill Clinton and businessman and author Guy Kawasaki.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30.4 percent of veterans age 18 to 24 were unemployed as recently as October, compared with 15.3 percent for nonveterans. For black veterans, unemployment hit 48 percent. Young female war veterans fared better re-entering the workforce than did their male counterparts.
Despite the high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Churchill said that veterans as a whole are more likely than their civilian counterparts to start their own businesses — with Lock-n-Load Java mirroring that trend.
“We are very encouraged with the support we have received not only from the military and veteran communities, but also from people who simply believe in supporting vet-owned businesses.”