New FWB program to help develop veteran owned businesses

(WEAR) – The city of Fort Walton Beach has paired with a Miami based company, called VentureHive, in order to develop veteran owned businesses.

The VentureHive Program runs for twelve weeks. During that time, businesses get help developing strategies for growth, and are partnered with other experts in their industry.

Jon Taylor, owner of Mr. QuickPick, a company that provides road side services for stranded motorists and employs almost entirely veterans, says “they’ve put us in contact with the right people. We could not assemble the mentors on our own that we’ve had in the last twelve weeks.”

VentureHive’s Ft. Walton Beach program requires the businesses be founded by at least one military veteran. It’s one of the reasons that the city was placed on the USAA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s list of best places for veteran entrepreneurs. But he plans on keeping his company’s headquarters right here in Ft. Walton Beach.

“I love the area. The people are great. It’s very military friendly. And it’s just the perfect place to run something like this,” Taylor said.

He’s not alone. Bryan Gonzalez, owner of Drones Unlimited, a company that uses drones for aerial photography, agrees.

“We’d love to stay here. The potential is great. Pensacola, Ft. Walton Beach, Niceville, all the way to Panama City. The waterfront properties that are available and the aerial photography that we can offer, it would be a game changer,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says the program has not only helped him develop his business into a successful one, but has gotten him noticed. He says he’s getting calls from around the southeast for work already, but plans on basing his business in Ft. Walton Beach.

“But just those phone calls and realizing there’s customers farther than where we are, I know that we can cover more area with more pilots,” he said.