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Local veteran-owned businesses celebrated during National Veterans Small Business Week

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Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 06, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — Veteran owned businesses are being celebrated across the country in part of National Veterans Small Business Week. It’s recognized by the Small Business Administration, and News5 wanted to highlight local veteran-owned businesses.

Red Leg Brewing company began in 2013 as a small business a few miles away from its current location on the west side of town. Today, it sits on 2 1/2 half acres of land. The owner, Todd Baldwin says he had a big vision and stuck to it, which were traits he learned in the military.

“I wanted to be an entrepreneur in using the skills I learned in the army and apply it,” said Baldwin. “I wanted to control my future as best I could, and what better way to do it than having a having a brewery?”

Baldwin is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 2006 to 2009. He took a military mindset and transitioned that to owning a business.

“Being able to take that risk, being able to put it on the line and go for it, is a really big part of being an entrepreneur and be able to handle that risk,” said Baldwin. “Certainly hard work, understanding long term goals, really seeing that vision and going and getting it.”

According to the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, veteran owned businesses make up 13% of businesses in Colorado, which is higher than the 9% average.

Real Estate Photo Pros is another local veteran-owned business that’s been open for about 16 years.

“I the idea when I was deployed over in Afghanistan, and was scribbling some notes on a yellow notepad,” said Tim Ray.

Ray is U.S. Air Force veteran who spent 26 years in the military. He started off as a mechanic and transitioned to flying C-130s and other aircrafts. Now, he flies Twin Otter for the Air Force Academy wings jump team. At the start of his business venture, he combined his passion of aviation, and his wife's passion of photography to open the business.

“I came back home gave my wife this crazy idea that hey, we should take this gas powered radio control helicopter, stick a camera underneath it and get aerial photographs of properties,” said Ray.

He also said a lot of the skills he learned in the military help to be a business owner.

“Initially early in my career, it was how to take orders, how to be lead, how to do well. And then obviously, as I’ve progressed in my career, how to lead others,” said Ray. “All of my supervisory experience has come through what I’ve learned in the military.”

These veterans are continuing their service through owning a business, and it’s a week to recognize them.

“Just seeing the community come around and they say, ‘hey, thank you for your service.’ You know, we get that all the time,” said Ray.

“This week really highlights those veterans that have stepped out after their service and said, ‘I want to be a small business owner.’”

For more information about Real Estate Photo Pros, click here.

Veterans are also 45% more likely to own a small business than non-veterans, according to the SBA.
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