BOCA RATON, Fla., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pathway to Business Success Inc. (www.pathwaytobusinesssuccess.org), a nonprofit created to help post 9/11 American soldiers returning from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq succeed in business, will award its first grant to a U.S. Army pilot wounded behind enemy lines at a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12 at the offices of South Palm Beach SCORE, 7999 N. Federal Highway.
With the announcement of its first grantee, Pathway to Business Success launches its campaign to recruit veterans living in Florida that want to go into business or expand one they already have. The seven-member board, including Gen. Joseph A. Taluto (retired) commander of the 42nd National Guard Division, who served in Iraq in 2005-2006, closely scrutinizes applicants, insuring their military service and business know-how.
"Our grants are not loans. There are no fees and there's no payback. Our soldiers have paid a heavy price already for their service. This is our way of giving back to the veterans who have served our country so valiantly," said Jerry Kramer, the founder of Pathway to Business Success, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient in the Korean War.
Pathway selected former U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer and Chinook helicopter pilot Fred Pollino, of Boynton Beach, as its first grantee, awarding him $40,000 to expand Better Escalator Cleaning Company. Pollino's business deep cleans escalators at airports, seaports, shopping malls and government buildings throughout Southeast Florida.
As a member of the 101st Airborne Division, Pollino was among the first to be deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was wounded in combat when his helicopter crashed during a mission near Khowst, Afghanistan. Pollino was medically discharged in 2003 due to his injuries.
"With Pathway's support, I'll be able to expand and hire more employees," said Pollino, 39. "I can't wait to help grow this program and help others who have served start their own business."
Pathway works with South Palm Beach SCORE, an all-volunteer nonprofit affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration, to find qualified vets for its grants.
"We're committed to helping our vets succeed when they leave active military service. At SCORE we can give them the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success," said Hal Finkelstein, chair of South Palm Beach SCORE.
The South Palm Beach chapter of SCORE (www.scoresouthflorida.net) is one of more than 364 like it around the country. The Boca nonprofit was recently named the National SCORE Chapter of the Year.
"South Palm Beach SCORE epitomizes what SCORE is all about: helping small business owners achieve their dreams," said Ken Yancey, SCORE CEO.
About Pathway to Business Success
Pathway to Business Success helps combat veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan post 9/11 to start or grow their business with grants that come with no fees, no interest and no payback. Visit www.pathwaytobusinesssuccess.org or call 561-488-2182.
Contact: Patricia Maldonado, 305-490-8831 [email protected]
SOURCE Pathway to Business Success Inc.