New program helps veterans launch their own businesses

Launching a new business takes hard work, dedication, help from experts and the community. Now it's getting easier for Arizona veterans to find that help. It's all for free in the heart of downtown Phoenix.

Veterans looking to start a business have a new home at The Armory, a non-profit incubator inside the Arizona Center.

"We take the veterans where they are, sometimes it's early stage concept, sometimes it's a prototype or a little past prototype, and we work with them where they are, understand what their knowledge gaps are and fill those knowledge gaps as quickly as possible," explained Phil Potter, founder and CEO of The Armory.

Potter served in the Air Force for six years. His company currently works with eight start-ups, including Rush Club, a fitness competition with several veteran and adaptive athletes.

"When you see somebody missing a leg who lost their leg in combat or you know we've got a guy who lost his arm in a wakeboarding accident when he was 13 and he can climb a rope with one arm.. it removes excuses, it inspires people," said A.J. Richards, CEO of Rush Club.

Kiran Rajbhandary is a veteran and Gold Star family member. He designed a trash can that makes cleaning up a breeze.

"It's really great to be able to employ veterans to create man hours.. from a manufacturing standpoint, our entire company is here in the state of Arizona, our manufacturing is here, our fulfillment is here," he said.

The company hopes to have 40 start-ups by the end of 2017, proof of Arizona's commitment to investing in our veterans.

"The least we can do is create a new home for them where they can get the mentoring they want, they can get their experience with other veterans," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

The Armory Incubator
Arizona Center
455 N. 3rd St.
Phoenix, AZ