Guest Post: What We Can Do for the 'Next' Greatest Generation

May 9, 2014

Charleston Malkemus, founder and chief executive officer of Gozump, Inc. testified before the House Small Business Committee on May 7. Below is an abridged version of his testimony.

Gozump’s story began way back on the battlefields of Iraq. During my second deployment I was leading a Scout Sniper Platoon through OPERATION STEEL CURTAIN when I received an email about the real estate market back home. In late 2005, the market was already showing signs of weakening, and I needed to sell my townhome in San Clemente, California.

I remembered the process of moving across the country when I was transferred to Camp Pendleton California and how difficult it was to find, finance, insure, and move into a new home. Now, I was being confronted with the challenges of selling my home.

I needed an application capable of connecting me remotely and giving me control over the process. Unfortunately, one did not exist.

Fully aware of the magnitude of this problem, I began a very deliberate endeavor to solve it. After years of research, planning, and recruiting, Gozump launched in June of 2012 with a team of Marines on a mission to combat one of the most frustrating and inefficient processes in the Internet age—buying a home.

As we began reaching out to community organizations to tackle this and other issues facing military families, we had the honor of working and partnering with some incredible organizations: the American Red Cross, the United Way, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to name a few.

When we began Gozump, we recognized that Hiring Our Heroes and their job fairs was an incredible resource for engaging the veteran community. We’ve used their job fairs for both awareness and recruiting campaigns with much success. In fact, a Hiring Our Heroes job fair is where we shaped a lot of our opinions about transitioning service members.

Hiring Our Heroes is leading the charge for transitioning veterans and their spouses into meaningful employment opportunities. Working with their vast network of chambers and strategic partners, Hiring Our Heroes has been creating a movement across America. They are rallying communities to find veterans and their spouses meaningful employment while supporting the work of veteran-friendly businesses, like Gozump, who have made ongoing commitments to veterans in their community. Their active network of businesses, strong reputation with the military, and pervasive job fairs have done more than any other organization to bring military and business communities together.

With 1.5 million military members transitioning over the next five years small businesses have a tremendous opportunity to tap into this talent pool and propel their operations forward. Hiring Our Heroes job fairs already provide access to the veteran community. All small businesses have to do is effectively communicate their objectives, and allow veterans to use their tactical abilities to engineer solutions and make things happen.

Gozump is one small example of the impact these programs can have and how beneficial they can be in supporting America’s current and future small businesses. As a team, we’ve been active participants in both the veteran and startup communities of South Florida. Collectively, we have volunteered hundreds of hours in support of regional initiatives to advance both of these causes and will continue to do so on behalf of moving America forward.