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  • Writer's picturederrick aguilar


Updated: Nov 9, 2022

In Spring 2020, Marine Corps Veteran, Derrick Aguilar registered for the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship. This twelve week program in Southwest Florida is designed to give honorably discharged Veterans the opportunity to start or grow their business. At the end of the program the Veterans were given the opportunity to participate in the Compassionate Shark Tank Pitch Competition  in which Aguilar was awarded a $13,300 grant which was to be used towards  a commercial vehicle for his mobile welding business. The owner and operator of American Veteran Welding is a United States Marine Corps Veteran with over ten years of certified welding and metal fabrication experience.

The South Florida resident continued on with the Summer Growth Program through virtual learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic for another six weeks. An additional $21,200 was awarded through the FGCU VFEP to fund the Veteran owned business for a total of $34,500 by the end of both programs. Florida Gulf Coast University selected Aguilar to represent FGCU at the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Expo where he pitched American Veteran Welding in the statewide pitch competition which drew in a nationwide audience.

According to the American Veteran Welding Society, there is a predicted shortage of 375,000 welders by 2023, which led the USMC Vet to cater to commercial contractors, subcontractors in renovating and multi-family apartment complexes to fit the demand of the growing South Florida real estate development and construction industries. The veteran owned business will now be able to service heavy equipment repairs for industrial projects to avoid down time, reduce setup and departure times and offer flat fees for clients who don’t have a need to hire a full or part time employee in Collier and Lee County. 

Call us to today at (239) 682-3057 to schedule an estimate or send us your contact and project details, here.

To read the official press release, click below.

AMV + FGCU Veterans Program Press Releas
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