MOMENTUM: Passing the Baton of Service

TJ Breedan is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his dedication to service and his continued support for efforts to boost employment among fellow veterans.


On behalf of eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc., I am honored to have been selected for the White House’s “Champions of Change” project, as part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative.  It is a tremendous commendation to have simply been nominated, let alone to be awarded the distinction of being recognized alongside so many worthy individuals who have committed themselves to being of service to the welfare of others.  I am perhaps most excited about the prospect of joining forces with others of likeminded purpose in advocacy of those who have sacrificed so much in defense of our country. 

Even still, the contributions that our organization attempts to make in support of our veterans cannot bare comparison to the level of sacrifice that our service-members, reservists, and their families make every day on behalf of our freedom.  Thus, I am humbled by this opportunity to share our work in an effort to galvanize support for our returning men and women in uniform, as they attempt to navigate through the difficult process of transitioning from active duty, to civilian life.

eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc. is a North Carolina based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides Small Business Training and Entrepreneurial Developmental services to military and minority communities.  We operate strictly as a grassroots organization; partnering with state & federal agencies, chambers of commerce, and military installations in an effort to provide training & resource services to underserved entrepreneurial communities.  The focus of our program comes in response to growing bipartisan, legislative efforts by the Obama Administration and members of Congress (i.e. the “Vow to Hire Heroes Act”as well as “The American Jobs Act”) to spearhead job growth and economic stimulation amongst returning veterans, amidst what many consider the harshest period of joblessness and socio-economic decline of this generation.  These troubling conditions called our organization into action, and in support of these initiatives (as well as the President’s recently-signed Executive Order supporting the educational ambitions of our men and women in uniform), our firm (in partnership with New Century Planning) boldly took it upon ourselves to coordinate an ambitious, one-day career fair catered specifically to the professional needs and interests of not only our service-members, but their families as well.

What resulted was the creation of the “2012 Momentum Expo,” which is North Carolina’s first military-focused Small Business Symposium, Hiring Fair, & College Recruitment Assembly; providing those in our military community with direct access to hiring firms and employers, small business tools & entrepreneurial resources, opportunities to speak with university recruiters & advanced education counselors, and information regarding federal/state servicing programs in an effort to advance the professional ambitions of active duty service-members, veterans, and their spouses. 

The inaugural expo; which will be held on June 27th, 2012 at the military installation campus at Fort Bragg: home of the 82nd Airborne and US Special Operations Forces; is the first in a series of career-based programs our organization plans to coordinate this year.  Hosting the event at one of the country’s most prominent installations will allow us to best serve the military community, as we seek to assist in accelerating economic recovery amongst those who have given so most in the name of service and duty.  Most importantly, registration is free for all veterans, military retirees, reservists, transitioning service-members, and their families; as we hope to provide a pathway through which our soldiers can successfully transition into full-time positions, entrepreneurial ventures, and educational opportunities. 

Through the development of this project, we have often been asked: “what does Momentum mean?”  Very simply Momentum represents our long-term commitment to being a driving force in support of initiatives that boosts economic prosperity, educational advancement, and entrepreneurialism amongst those who have already given so much for our country.  It means to willingly build upon the moral impetus of selflessness, generosity, and sacrifice displayed by our men and women in uniform.  It means to pledge to do our very best in mirroring the values of those who defend our flag at the point where their service is completed, and ours begins. 

The Momentum Expo is an extension of our firm’s commitment to assuming responsibility for the welfare of others; where the baton of service is passed from our service-members onto us.  It provides us the appropriate outlet through which we can demonstrate our appreciation, and we as an organization are dedicated to doing so with the same pride and respect as those whom we support.

TJ Breeden is chairman of eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.

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