Building a Startup Zone in the Southern Alleghenies

US Army Vet, Vinzeal Wolf, ETAL Transfer Authority

Startup Alleghenies Salutes Our Veteran Entrepreneurs | #SUAsalutesVets

November 11th marks Veterans Day 2018, when the entire country pauses to salute the veterans who have served our country.

At Startup Alleghenies we led a movement to create the next great startup zone in the Alleghenies.  Since launching in June 2017, we have registered 221 entrepreneurs from Blair, Cambria and Somerset Counties.

Among those entrepreneurs, Startup Alleghenies has been especially proud to support veterans who dream of bringing their big ideas to market.

“We’ve learned that veterans make a significant impact on our economy as owners of their own businesses,” said Debbi Prosser, director business-development, Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC).

“Right now, our Entrepreneur Coaches are working with eleven veterans who are starting businesses in areas as diverse as transportation, CrossFit exercise, gluten-free baking, catering, hospitality, and the development of a shotgun retention device for law enforcement,” Prosser added.

Vet-Owned Companies to Watch

US Army Vet, Vinzeal Wolf started ETAL Transfer Authority. Wolf identified a gap in prepaid, scheduled, and dependable transportation in the community, hindering regional business growth and industry development. Wolf’s company provides affordable transportation between Pittsburgh and Johnstown.

US Coast Guard Vet, Danielle Tissue created Food Fairies, LLC, specializing in gluten-free bakery treats in Somerset, while maintaining her “day job” at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

US Marine Corps Vet, John Skelley founded his CrossFit Excursion affiliate in Johnstown, which quickly became one of the area’s most popular gyms.

US Marine Corps Vet, Mark Kasterko founded MT Arms, LLC and MT Tactical.  Kasterko  invented a shotgun retention device for law enforcement.

And US Air Force Vet, Dale Leslie has proven that age isn’t a barrier to entrepreneurship or garnering support from Startup Alleghenies.  Dale is 90 years old, but he’s taken the first step to defining his business idea and launch plan, and might even have a pitch ready for Ben Franklin Technology Partners TechCelerator in January 2019.

If you are a military veteran with an idea and want to start your own business, reach out to one of our Entrepreneur Coaches or enroll Right Here. Right Now, on the website.   #StartRHRN  #SUAsalutesVets #EntrepreneursWanted


Startup Alleghenies is on a mission to bring greater economic vitality to the region by creating an ecosystem for success that recruits and supports entrepreneurs. Launched in June 2017 by the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC), Startup Alleghenies entrepreneurs are mentored by coaches who provide 360 support to help them navigate a vast network of partners at economic development groups, private organizations, investors and universities–all working together to bring talent, new businesses, and jobs to the region.


Whether you’re starting a business or just thinking about it, a member of the media, an investor, or someone who cares about our region, learn more about what’s going on to revitalize our region’s reputation as a startupzone. Sign up to receive the latest insider information.

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Our Entrepreneurs

Click on an entrepreneur to learn more:

Vinzeal | ETAL Transfer Authority
Jeremy & Jennifer | Press Bistro
Mark | Mark Albert Boots
Dave | Wrivo, LLC
Mike | InnoH20 Solutions
John | EMG Brands


Startup Alleghenies is celebrating its first year. Here are the highlights about our 211 enrolled and active Startup Alleghenies entrepreneurs in Blair, Cambria, and Somerset Counties.

What kind of business are they creating?

Where are the entrepreneurs coming from?

“I think we’ve probably hit peak Silicon Valley, and we need to figure out ways to have a more diverse, inclusive economy. We want the rust belt to become the startup belt.”

–AOL Founder and Revolution CEO Steve Case, November 2017 on CNBC (see video)