The Jonas Project

week 22:  this week i'm gonna... support entrepreneurial veterans

Lt. Commander Jonas Kelsall

Lt. Commander Jonas Kelsall

At the age of 17, Jonas Kelsall announced that when he graduated high school he wanted to become a Navy SEAL. His parents had to sign the enlistment papers because he was not yet 18. To ease his mother’s apprehension, he promised that as soon as he finished BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) he would go to college. His plan to become a SEAL came as a complete surprise to his parents, but he always was a person of his word, and so the papers were signed and Jonas entered the Navy.

He made it through BUDS, and as promised, was off to the University of Texas for the next four years. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree along with his Commission and spent the next several years following his dream, eventually leading him to Lt. Commander in the Naval Special Warfare Elite Development Group.

Jonas spent 12 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, loving every single minute. On August 6, 2011 at the age of 32, he was killed in action in Afghanistan in the single worst disaster in the history of the U.S. SEALs.

Jonas lived the kind of life most only dream of. He traveled the world; he met and married the love of his life. He never met a person he didn’t consider a friend, and he had a sister and parents that adored him. His career was not only a source of great joy, but tremendous pride. Every time Jonas left for deployment he would tell his family, “If anything happens to me, know that I love my job. It is the only thing I want to do.”

To memorialize their fallen son, John and Teri Kelsall founded The Jonas Project. It is for Veterans like Jonas, who have served our country with honor, who have an entrepreneurial spirit, and who are determined to succeed at their dream, that The Jonas Project was born. 

Hear about The Jonas Project from the Kelsall family in the video below.


The Jonas Project works with Veteran Entrepreneurs on their quest to become tomorrow’s high-impact business leaders. Once accepted into The Jonas Project, Veterans are provided with a number of critical resources for the first two years of their business launch, including (but not limited to) funding and mentorship.

The Jonas Project provides a powerful team of mentors – business leaders, market innovators, and successful Veteran entrepreneurs – that serve as the support backbone for their Veteran Entrepreneurs. Their mentor network spans the country and provides impactful support, no matter the venture.

Their vision is that Veteran Entrepreneurs, in turn, will hire fellow Veterans and/or spouses of Veterans as employees, ultimately contributing to job growth for Veterans and their families. This honors the service and sacrifice of our military men and women, and the need for Veterans to have gainful employment, respect, honor, and dignity as they transition to civilian life.


One of the Veteran-owned businesses that has been helped by The Jonas Project is Blue Bowl.  Blue Bowl originated in Afghanistan, where Lt. Teague Savitch was deployed in a fast-paced, high-stress environment that required his lunch be fast and portable. He wanted healthy breakfast and lunch to-go meals that offered a natural boost of energy - something he couldn't find in the energy drinks that were prevalent on base.

 
 

Upon returning from deployment, Teague found himself back in a civilian world where the everyday consumer also wanted food to be fast, healthy and performance-enhancing. He created Blue Bowl to provide quick, tasty, and nutritional meals served in a to-go bowl where the customer has the freedom to choose from a range of fruit smoothie bases and then add all-natural performance-enhancing food toppings.

Lt. Teague Savitch on assignment in Afghanistan

Lt. Teague Savitch on assignment in Afghanistan

Teague at the Blue Bowl booth at the farmers market

Teague at the Blue Bowl booth at the farmers market

The Jonas Project helped Teague decide which type of corporation would be best for his business and set him up with accounting and legal advice. With their help, he recently formalized Blue Bowl as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and is in the process of establishing a permanent storefront to supplement his regular presence at the local farmers market.

“The Jonas Project was instrumental in setting me up with a law firm who helped me work through the details of the lease, get me set up to start hiring employees and bring on a partner. And they did it all pro bono,” said Teague.


Notes for this week:

  • May is National Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day is May 30th. Please take a moment to thank and remember those who have bravely served our country.
  • Our collective givetwig donation will provide one Veteran Entrepreneur the financial and HR training to be able to hire other Veterans - continuing the cycle of honoring Veterans and giving back.
  • For further information regarding The Jonas Project, please check out their website.
 

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