MINNEAPOLIS – Army Capt. Ronald Jarvi, Jr., Resilience, Risk Reduction & Suicide Prevention Manager & Employment Support Officer at the Minnesota National Guard Deployment Cycle Support based in Cottage Grove, has been named the Minnesota Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office as well as the upper Midwest Region.
The Veteran Small Business Champion Award is presented annually in each state to individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to advancing small business opportunities for Veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Army Maj. Aaron Krenz, Branch Chief of Deployment Cycle Support in Cottage Grove nominated Captain Jarvi for this award.
The regional award winner is selected from among the state winners. In addition to Minnesota, SBA’s upper Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
In 2011, the Minnesota National Guard identified a significant issue with Service members who were deployed and would be returning home to Minnesota unemployed, underemployed or looking to start their own business. Jarvi was assigned and tasked to develop a collaborative solution to this issue. No small task, considering the Minnesota National Guard would be retuning the largest number of deployed Soldiers from Kuwait and Operation New Dawn in state history during the spring and summer of 2012. Jarvi reached out to local, state and federal employment and entrepreneurial partners as well as all military service branches and focused them on synchronizing efforts to provide a clear and concise path for Service members and Veterans to follow to achieve their goals. The synergy achieved by such a diverse group of support agencies and military partners had never been attempted or attained prior to this effort.
Jarvi served as the conduit and facilitator for this newly developed Inter-Agency Employment Working Group (IEWG) which initially focused on producing a three-step process to connect Service members seeking employment support and those employers looking to hire those serving in the military. The Minnesota National Guard also realized the unmet need and value of connecting those Service members who wanted to start their own business with entrepreneurial resources.. Jarvi worked tirelessly to help identify those Service members while they were still deployed and coordinated with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide a connection and support opportunity during the required reintegration training that Service members and their families attend to help ease the transition from combat to community. This connection resulted in the SBA connecting with and supporting more Service members and Veterans in 2012 than they had connected with during the last 5 years combined.
Jarvi provided numerous engagements to military, public and private organizations, which raised awareness about the importance of employment after deployment and achieving ones goals of owning your own business. Jarvi’s contributions in the areas of entrepreneurial and employment support have had cascading effects on the overall resilience of all Minnesota Service members and military families. He effectively communicated the entrepreneurial and employment support needs for today’s Service members and Veterans helped provide congressional leaders the valuable input and influence the passage of state legislation in support of Veterans employment and entrepreneurial support.
The entrepreneurial and employment support efforts led by Jarvi have received national attention and have been highlighted as a “best practice” at the highest levels of the military. Through this recognition, the Michigan National Guard reached out and sent an officer to meet with Jarvi and discuss what the Minnesota National Guard and the IEWG partners he brought together were able to achieve in an effort replicate this model.
Captain Jarvi will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program on May 6, 2013, at the Depot Minneapolis.
For more information:
Captain Ronald Jarvi, Jr.
Minnesota National Guard Deployment Cycle Support
Resilience, Risk Reduction & Suicide Prevention Manager & Employment Support Officer
8180 Belden Boulevard
Cottage Grove, MN 55016