Military veterans compete to promote their emerging businesses

- Kennedy Morrow Sr. thinks his future is in a Nike box. He pulls out a series of white plastic pieces and quickly assembles them. It looks a bit a plastic club, but it's not. It's a smoked turkey leg holder. The idea for it came to the 25-year U.S. Army veteran during RodeoHouston a few years ago.

"With this product, your hands won't touch the smoked turkey leg while you're actually eating it," says Morrow. "Also because they're going to put  it in the case with a pair of tongs, your hands will never touch it.." He also says it will also protect the poultry piece from dust and debris. He needs about $200,000 to go from the prototype stage to production.

The Missouri City resident has entered the Vets Business Battle organized by Rice Veterans Business Association and Entrepreneur's Organization Houston. It's a business plan competition open solely to military veterans. $900,000 in investment money was at stake in 2015. Morrow is one of four local start-ups named as finalists.

Trumbull Unmanned was in the 2015 battle. Started in 2013 by husband and wife Air Force veterans JR and Dyan Gibbens, the  company uses drones to map, monitor and inspect operations across the energy sector. They started with just the two of them and now have ten employees.

JR and Dyan tell FOX 26 News that they benefited from from the competition so much that they are helping to sponsor it for 2016.

"We intend to be involved and sponsor this every year and we really want to be part of paying this forward and we hope to serve as one of the many success stories coming out  of the veterans business battle." says Dyan.
As for Morrow, he hopes he will be too so he can achieve the American dream of quitting his job and working for himself.

"Precisely, that's exactly it," says Morrow. "I'm sure my coworkers would understand if they had a great innovative idea like this one and given the opportunity I think they'd do the same."

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