The mission of Contact eCommerce is to generate a profit by selling products from veteran-owned businesses while simultaneously influencing public perception of American veterans in a positive way.
In 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that the fastest-growing national security threat was that America did not know its military and the military did not know America. What happens to that relationship between service member and American public when the service member discharges? Unfortunately, that gap in understanding still remains, and the positive perceptions of active service members often change to negative perceptions of veterans. Got Your 6, a veteran advocacy organization, notes on their website that, “The average American has little first-hand connection to the military and often believes that, in general, veterans are much more likely than civilians to experience unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and various other issues. These notions are largely misconceptions. They paint a picture of veterans as ‘broken.’” Veterans are not broken. We are strong leaders with extensive experience working in difficult and dynamic environments. That experience is vital to entrepreneurship and has led to an increase of “Vetrepreneurs” who have launched companies after discharge from the military. Veteran-owned businesses need consumers in order to thrive, and American society needs to reevaluate its veteran perceptions. This dual need creates an opportunity for Contact to adopt a Shared Value business model.
PROFIT + SOCIAL GOOD = SHARED VALUE:
Profit, or economic value, is the incentive for sustainable, long-term, positive change. It’s also the quickest way to realize that desired change. Profit and social good are not mutually exclusive concepts and can coexist peacefully.
Michael Porter and Mark Kramer wrote in The Harvard Business Review that Shared Value “involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Shared Value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center.” Contact fully subscribes to the Shared Value model because it 1) aligns with our personal values, 2) provides an opportunity to continue serving this country through business if not through active military service, and 3) is in the best interest of our company and of the marketplace and communities that we seek to build and sustain.
CREATING “MORE GOOD” IN THE WORLD:
Contact’s Shared Value model will increase the growth of veteran-owned businesses by creating a marketplace that connects veterans to consumers specifically looking to purchase goods from veteran- owned businesses. Each transaction will expose the consumer to a Vetrepreneur who is a successful, highly contributing member of society. The more successful (read: profitable) Contact is, the more likely other Shared Value companies will emerge in the long term with other socially critical missions. This creates “more good” in a world that sorely needs it. Veterans joined the military to make a difference for their country. Contact was created to continue that mission in a new and exciting way through business – making a difference for this country and for our veterans. We look forward to having you on this journey with us.
- Andy Ney, Contact CEO