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April 9, 2013

A Disabled Veteran Starts his BBQ Business

A Disabled Veteran Starts his BBQ Business

Written By: Gerald Young, EBV-Purdue, Class of 2010

The opportunity to pursue a small business — and to eventually provide job opportunities to other disabled veterans — is a dream come true for me, and is just one of the drivers behind my business. I’m also fortunate enough to have a product that I believe in and can personally endorse — my dad’s recipe for the best barbeque sauce sitting on any grocery shelf — Young G’s Barbeque Sauce! Bottling the sauce gives me a great deal of pride and I can never thank my family enough — and especially my dad — for both his recipe and all the support I’ve been given.

Due to physical injuries I sustained in Afghanistan, it’s not possible for me to be competitively employed. But like most veterans, I’m a hard worker and want to be productive and more importantly, successful. When my father provided me with his family barbeque recipe and gave me the green light to share his sauce with the world, I knew this was my opportunity to do something big with my life. With the support of the Veteran’s Administration, I have diligently and aggressively pursued self-employment. This business has allowed me the flexibility to accommodate my physical limitations by working from a home base, and to adjust my schedule as needed. Further, watching my customer base, sales, and prospects grow weekly, inspires me to make Young G’s Barbeque Sauce a nationally recognized product.

Although my business in still in its early stages, my goals include to eventually provide jobs in the area of production, distribution, and sales for other veterans. I want to create a cultural climate that endorses and supports veterans — including those with disabilities — to give back to those that gave to our country. And not only do I want to create jobs for veterans, I also want to share my product with military men and women currently serving our country.

My business model includes pursuing military contracts with various government vendors that carry products that are served on domestic military bases. I am aggressively pursuing several strong prospects at this time, knowing full well that securing just one major contract will be the catalyst to take my business to the next level. Once I can secure domestic contracts, I’m hopeful that there will be opportunities for our military men and women to experience Young G’s that are serving overseas. I know that while I was serving in Afghanistan, I would have given almost anything to experience my dad’s barbeque!

Today, the ongoing technical and financial business support I am receiving from the Veterans Administration is proving instrumental in achieving my goals. I know I have the drive and ambition to make Young G’s a great success, and surrounding myself with other business professionals and creating a ‘team’ of experts can only enhance my efforts. As I look ahead to my future, I am optimistic about where I am today with this business, and where I’m heading. I hope everyone will seek out and try my delicious product, and help me to reach both my personal and business goals.

You can help support an entrepreneur like Gerald.

Gerald Young is the creator of Young G’s Barbacue Sauce and a graduate of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at Purdue University. This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post as part of a series of guest blog posts highlighting the work of Kiva Zip’s trustees and the inspiring stories of the borrowers they endorse. The IVMF is a Kiva Zip trustee.

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