The Main Point ….
Navigating bureaucracy can be a daunting experience. We’ve all dealt with rabbit holes, dead ends, continuous recordings, unhelpful people, busy signals, and long waiting times trying to get services or information, only to be turned away because we didn’t have everything we needed. At Thread Capital, besides providing capital for new or growing businesses, we offer coaching and connections that can help entrepreneurs navigate some of those bureaucratic challenges to ensure they are loan-ready and their businesses can thrive.
In this week’s Main Point, our publication about all things microfinance, we shine a spotlight on a remarkable woman who has made navigating bureaucracy – in particular, the US Department of Veterans Affairs – her mission and her business.
Jacksonville Veterans Disability Services
In 2009, Carmella George learned firsthand how difficult the VA landscape can sometimes be when her father, a Vietnam veteran, was struggling to gain access to services he needed. She stepped in to try to expedite his care. “When I saw what he was going through, I wrote Senator Burr and asked he if could help. My dad’s case was turned around in three months,” she told Spectrum News in an interview last year.
From that initial success, she built Jacksonville Veterans Disability Services, a business based in Jacksonville, NC, that helps US veterans all over the world gain access to needed services. As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, Ms. George explains, “I officially represent US military veterans in their disability claims before the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Put more simply, that means I prepare, present and prosecute veterans’ disability claims.”
Over the years as her business and client base continued to grow, Ms. George came to Thread Capital, and, she says, “Thread Capital helped me expand my business staff-wise. We are thusly able to serve a larger amount of veterans. The impact of that is huge on many levels,” she continues, “because millions of dollars for deserving disabled veterans will be won. Those veterans and their families will be more secure on a number of fronts.”
When claiming VA benefits, representation for veterans is key. Ms. George and her staff represent her audience and help veterans understand the ins and outs of the system. “We serve the disabled, sometimes totally disabled and many, many minority veterans,” Ms. George says. “We provide a high level of service to every client, as well as much-needed diverse representation in the field of veteran’s law. A black woman CEO and claims agent is something you do not see often in the field, and so we are able to provide much-needed representation where all veterans have thorough advocates on their side. It is important to have a seat and a voice at the table so that diverse experiences are represented. We try to ensure that the staff we are bringing on reflects the diversity of this great country.”
Ms. George not only benefited from the funds received but also took advantage of Thread Capital’s coaching assistance. “When Ms. George came to us, we talked with her about some of our coaching services,” Thread Capital Loan Associate Christopher Lovegreen said. “Working together, we helped her streamline her financial processes to ensure she was able to support the loan. We are happy to see her business thriving.”
As for her experience with Thread Capital, Ms. George shows appreciation and satisfaction for the work Thread Capital does in providing not just capital, but also coaching and connections. “Funding from Thread Capital was a very simple and smooth process for my business,” she concluded. “Chris and the team were a pleasure to work with. I truly appreciate that Thread is vocal about, and follows through with its mission to provide funding, support and connections to small businesses that are owned by people of color, women, low-income individuals, and rural-based individuals. It makes all the difference for these populations to pursue entrepreneurship, changes lives and builds diverse communities. I highly encourage those eligible populations seeking small business funding to engage with Thread Capital.”
To learn more about Ms. George and her organization visit her website at veteransdisabilityclaims.com