NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s not easy for military men and women to transition into the workforce, especially after serving overseas.

But a new program hopes to change that, as it helps veterans launch their own start-up businesses, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Thursday.

Military veteran Marvin Johnson is preparing to launch a new start-up called Dashible that lets people swipe left or right on local bargains for services and products. Creating a company has helped him transition to civilian life after serving as a nuclear submarine officer overseas.

“Coming from a military background and growing up as a military brat, as they say, it’s a different environment going to the corporate world,” Johnson said.

Johnson is one of several small business owners selected for a program called Veterans in Residence. It offers six months of mentoring for new start-ups and is put on by WeWork, which offers shared work spaces, and Bunker Labs, a nonprofit that helps veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs start, grow and scale their businesses.

“The reality is more veterans deal with employment issues than they do with physical issues or emotional issues,” said Jesse Canella, CEO of Military Talent Group.

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Canella is a former infantry rifleman with the Marines who served in Iraq. He was inspired to create his start-up to help companies recruit veterans and find meaningful work.

“I had a close friend commit suicide after he got back from his deployment. It just sort of rocked my world. I felt like there was more that could be done,” Canella said.

All of the Veterans in Residence get work spaces and business mentoring, but what they value most is community.

The program also accepts military family members like Symone Gates, who develops products for pain relief that use CBD.

“I’m surrounded by people who have done amazing service,” said Bade, founder and CEO of Body Collection. “Moving around a lot every four years, especially as an only child, definitely gave me the grit that I’ve been able to apply in starting my own business.”

The program’s goal is to mentor 1,500 new veterans nationwide in the next five years.

Veterans interested can apply for a spot in the next round of program that starts in the fall.


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