From Service to Startup: Veterans Making Their Way as Small Business EntrepreneursCarolyn Crummey
John Warren, CEO
Lima One Capital
John Warren was just out of college when the 9/11 attacks happened, an event that inspired him to join the Marines and defend his country. From 2004 through 2008, he completed two tours of duty fighting the insurgency in Ramadi, Iraq. He rose through the ranks and ultimately led Lima One Company into combat as a Marine Captain.
After leaving the Marines, John found that many companies were hesitant to hire combat veterans due to concerns that they would not be able to translate combat skills to business and that they may have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After struggling to find a full time job, John decided to start his own company, Lima One Capital (which he named after his Marine company). It provides financing called “hard money loans,” such as funding residential real estate investors or “home flippers,” since traditional bank mortgages often do not fund renovation costs without significant home equity.
John decided to build a company that was committed to hiring vets, because as he puts it, “hiring a veteran will make an average company good and a good company great.” That theory has certainly paid off as his company has expanded into nine states, plus Washington DC, and is lending well over $100 million. In just three years Lima One Capital has become the East Coast’s largest “hard money lender” and was recently named the Fastest Growing Company in its home state of South Carolina by The Capital Corporation and Integrated Media Publishing.
“Today’s veterans possess core values that every company seeks in its employees—values like honor, courage, commitment, loyalty, duty and respect,” said John. “They are able to successfully execute objectives in both low and high-pressure situations. Since our founding, veterans have been the cornerstone of success for Lima One Capital.”
John’s advice to Veterans considering starting a business: “Embrace the skills you learned in the military and remember that they are highly desirable to both employers and will serve you well when starting your own business. Also continue looking out for your fellow veterans and make a commitment to hiring other vets. Not only are they great employees but it is an essential way to give back to your brothers and sisters in uniform.”