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American veterans have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and according to a study released by the SBA Office of Advocacy titled “Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership in the Veteran Population,” 22 percent of veterans are either purchasing or starting a new business, or considering purchasing or starting one. Soupman Inc., the parent company of The Original Soupman, through its veteran program, is committed to supporting veterans in their pursuit of entrepreneurship, and announced its first veteran Soupmobile franchisee, Sergeant Daniel Gilyeat from Kansas City, Kansas.
“For many veterans, the return home from service is not an easy transition, leading many of these young men and women to seek an entrepreneurial opportunity that is fulfilling, allows them to set their own schedule and enables them to take care of their family,” says Lloyd Sugarman, CEO of The Original Soupman. “Our Soupmobile franchise allows veterans to do just that with a full corporate support team assisting with menu development, operations, marketing and more. Sergeant Dan is a true American hero and we look forward to helping him bring our one-of-a-kind soups and sandwiches to Kansas City.”
The Original Soupman’s Soupmobile Franchise Veteran Program offers a 10 percent discount to veterans and assists with financing programs for the franchisee. The plans are to service the community and military bases in the local market where the veteran lives.
Sergeant Daniel Gilyeat’s story is one of heroism and bravery. After two tours in Iraq, Gilyeat was wounded on July 3, 2005, losing his left leg to an IED above the knee when his vehicle struck an anti-tank mine. After surviving overwhelming odds, Gilyeat learned to walk again and moved to Kansas City, Kansas, where he began to support other wounded veterans. His story was featured in a 2008 episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. In 2014, Sergeant Gilyeat was introduced to The Original Soupman brand and team. After tasting the soup and meeting the corporate team, he decided that owning his own Soupmobile would allow him to support his dream of owning his own business, as well as continue his passion for helping veterans.
“After visiting with The Original Soupman team earlier this year in New York City, I immediately felt the passion the organization had for assisting veterans, such as myself, and knew that it was the perfect franchise for me and my wife, Ana, to bring to Kansas City,” Gilyeat says. “The Soupmobile trucks have a low cost of entry, food that sells itself, and provides access to the full Original Soupman support team. I look forward to owning my own Soupmobile, as well as continuing to empower and inspire other veterans by employing them to help run the business.”
The Original Soupman is dedicated to assisting veterans with their needs, whether it is through business ownership or through helping them to achieve physical or educational assistance. As such, the organization has partnered with Food Industry Serving Heroes (FISH), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on making a positive impact on the lives of troops, veterans, and their families. As part of The Soupmobile Veteran Program, for each veteran franchisee that signs a development agreement with the brand, a percentage of the franchise fee will go directly to FISH and its programs, including health, guidance, recognition, and support. This partnership is intended to enable FISH to support more veterans across the country.
“For many veterans we work with, finding a job can be difficult when they leave the military, which can often cause hopelessness, directly affecting most veterans’ emotional and physical healing,” says Paul Chapa, the founder of FISH. “By partnering with The Original Soupman, we are able to increase our efforts and support more veterans as they return from active duty. With veterans’ work ethic, attitude, and structure, we believe the food industry is ideal for veterans looking for their next career.”