Veterans, community, and businesses benefit as Fifth Third Bank Foundation grants $25,000 to VDLC, a local support group supporting veteran-owned businesses.

STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (September 30, 2019) – Non-profit charitable organization Veteran Development and Leadership Corporation (VDLC) is the recipient of a $25,000 grant awarded by the Fifth Third Bank Foundation.

Fifth Third Bank Foundation awards VDLC $25K for Veteran Access to Capital Pilot Program

From left to right: Ron Ross, VOBRT Business Development Executive – Peter Vazquez, VOBRT Executive Director – Jason Paulateer, Fifth Third Bank Senior Vice President and CED Market Manager – Tawnya Rose, Fifth Third Bank Vice President, Community & Economic Development Manager – David Girodat, Fifth Third Bank Regional President, Eastern Michigan – Roderick Rickman, VOBRT President – Shaun Wilson, VOBRT Communications Committee Chair

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, Fifth Third National Bank hosted its 3rd Annual Strengthening Our Communities Celebration where grant recipients, including VDLC, were honored for their role in sharing the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities.

Presenter Tawnya Rose spoke at the event and recognized Fifth Third’s and VDLC’s shared goals when she said,

it takes a lot of courage to decide to step out on your own and start your own business. Imagine if these small business owners had access to capacity building or training that can help them along their journey, the type of generational wealth they can create. Not only for them, but for their families, their neighborhood, and our community.”

The funds are earmarked for helping veteran business owners become fundable according to the national lending guidelines and potentially prepare them for an SBA Loan. This program was financially assisted by the Fifth Third Foundation and will be managed and marketed by non-profit membership organization The Veteran Owned Business Roundtable (VOBRT), an advocate for, among other objectives, ensuring government contracting and supplier diversity initiatives reach their goals.

Initial VOBRT Program Manager, Peter Vazquez, conceived the program in early 2018 and believes the grant is a great first step in “helping veterans get the information they need about financial resources available and programs such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “Veteran’s First” contracting program which affords verified firms owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans the opportunity to compete for government contracting set asides.”

The Veteran Access to Capital program is designed to assist the 200,000 veterans reentering civilian life in which 6% are likely to be self-employed and only 1% of them apply for loans according to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. New and existing veteran business owners are offered a straight line to achieve their entrepreneurial and business goals.

The program includes a business coach, clearly defined steps in establishing business credit and sharing with them over 250 creditors and lenders that will assist in acquiring trade-lines, lines of credit and micro-loans based on their business credit.

“Fifth Third Bank knows the value that small businesses play in our economy; they truly are the backbone,” said Jason Paulateer, Sr. Vice President and Market Manager, North Region at Fifth Third Bank.

Our partnership with the Veteran Development Leadership Corporation and the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable is extremely important to help support our veteran business owners. “I love that this grant will allow us to be a part of growing the economic pot for this crucial community of business people.”

The Veteran’s Access to Capital program has two important goals for veterans:

  • Fast and easy access to information on how to start building business credit
  • Achieving growth in a minimal timeframe.

For financial institutions and non-profit organizations, it’s a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate their support for this vital segment of the local business sector.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Fifth Third Foundation.

Learn More About the Veteran Access to Capital Program

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About Veteran Owned Business Roundtable

Since 2005, the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable ( has been an advocate for veteran owned businesses, ensuring their inclusion in diversity initiatives while monitoring compliance with legislation mandating state contracts be awarded to Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses. It works tirelessly to persuade large, private corporations to pledge similar goals.

About Veteran Development and Leadership Corporation

Many veterans leave military service with the leadership skills it takes to start a new business venture. The VDLC was founded to address two key elements that are typically missing to help veterans succeed as business owners: mentorship from other successful veteran business owners and direct access to financial resources in which they can apply. VDLC programs offer timely, accurate information to help veterans make the right entrepreneurial decisions.

Media Contact:

Peter Vazquez, 586.722.1557 ext. 5