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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Cherry Point, North Carolina
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Marine, Family Programs' Personal and Professional Development Programs hosts first ever Battle for Business

By Cpl. Cody Lemons | Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point | June 7, 2018

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C.-  A lot of people have goals and ambitions to own and operates their own business; this is no different for the service members, veterans and spouses who participated in the Battle for Business hosted by the Marine and Family Programs Personal and Professional Development Program here, June 2. MCAS Cherry Point and Marine and Family PPDP were the first in the Marine Corps to host this type of event.

The Battle for Business is a competition for entrepreneurs from the Cherry Point community who have aspirations to grow and expand their small businesses. The competitors each gave a detailed 10 minute presentation about their businesses to a panel of five civilian judges who are associated with the business community. The judges gave the competitors ideas and feedback on how to help grow and develop their businesses.

“Entrepreneurship is a popular career choice for many of our service members,” said Johneiquel Smith-Griffin, an information and referral specialist assigned to Marine and Family Programs PPDP. “The Battle for Business competition is the PPDP’s way of helping service members, veterans and military spouses take their business ownership training to the next level by offering an entrepreneurship start-up competition.”

There were a variety of business models presented during the competition with the grand prize winner being Leah Simard, a military spouse.

“I came in thinking I wasn’t going to win at all,” said Simard. “My goal was to get the feedback from the judges and try to fill in the holes I’m missing in the business start-up.”

Simard, the 1st place winner, walked away with an IPad, a wireless printer, a credit card reader, a $100 gift card and much more. 

“This was unexpected so I’m really surprised but it has been a huge, huge help in moving forward with the types of connections I have made here today and the prizes they offered were just above and beyond,” said Simard.

The judges gave a diverse range of feedback on how the competitors could improve these small businesses.

“The judges brought up really good points about financial aspects as well as things to think about going forward and areas I could expand on,” said Simard. “The little things are going to be a huge help down the road because I do intent to pursue a lot of their examples and suggestions.”

Simard had a message for service members, veterans and spouses who are on the fence about starting their own business.

“Just do it,” said Simard. “If you never start, then you have already failed. I know a lot of times people are scared about putting themselves out there and failing in front of everybody but by not doing it you’re not moving forward and you’ve already failed in that sense. So just go for it. You only have today, so make the most of it.”


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