Craig Taylor Voted Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year Elected by Rice Business Veterans Association
HOUSTON – May 4, 2022 – The Rice Business Veterans Association at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business elected Craig Taylor as the recipient of the 2022 Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Taylor is the founder and CEO of Iapetus Holdings LLC, a minority and veteran-owned Houston-based privately held portfolio of eight self-funded multimillion-dollar companies solving for some of the world’s most urgent needs around
energy, safety, and sustainability. Taylor is also CEO of Iapetus Alternative Investments LLC. The recognition ceremony was held at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University on Saturday, April 23rd. Fellow veteran entrepreneurs, including organizers and candidates for the Rice Veterans Business Battle (RVBB) competition, as well as event sponsors, attended the event.
The RVBB is the largest veteran-focused business plan competition in the country. It serves as a forum to connect veterans with investors, advisors, and resources. Finalists have the chance to attend workshops geared toward businesses in early stages of development, network with potential investors, and learn from other entrepreneurial success stories. Since 2015, more than $4 million has been invested in veteran-owned companies through introductions made at the RVBB. The competition is open to veteran-owned companies from across the country with a veteran founder or majority equity holder actively involved in the business. The 2022 winners are Libre, Opera Bioscience and Bonappesweet.
Taylor and Alex Danielides, head of business development for Iapetus Holdings, participated as judges of the competition hosted by the Rice Veteran’s Business Battle, consisting of 16 early-stage companies vying for funding.
Taylor commented, “I am so delighted to receive this award. It’s a tremendous honor, especially coming from this entrepreneurial group of veterans who share the same drive and vision that helped me reach my goals. As business owners, we are faced with many challenges… Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but the Navy instilled in me a strong sense of responsibility and grit, which are critical characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. I also feel great affinity toward the Rice Business school. For several years, we have been sponsoring leadership development courses for our employees to benefit from their Executive Education programs. I’m proud to be associated with this fabulous program and the veteran men and women driving innovation towards the country’s economic development and innovation.”
Reid Schrodel, Chairman of the RVBB, added, “The 8th annual Vet Biz Battle Event turned out to be one of our best yet! We were excited to give all the companies participating a chance to pitch their companies to potential investors & mentors! We look forward to hosting the event next year April 7-8th.”
Iapetus Holdings topped the 2022 Houston Business Journal list of veteran-owned companies, ranked by revenue. Taylor spent several years as a leader in the United States Navy, where he was a Petty Officer Third Class for the Presidential Honor Guard and USS Ticonderoga. He oversaw a platoon of over 50 men and women in duties representing the U.S. Navy at ceremonies for the President of the United States, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Navy, and the Chief of Naval Operations. He holds a B.S. in Management from the University of Maryland, a J.D. from Fordham University, and earned a Global MBA through the joint Global Executive Program at Columbia University and London Business School. Taylor and COO, Tejpal Singh, were recognized in 2021 by the National Diversity & Leadership Conference – Top Multicultural Leaders and Top Financial Leaders, respectively, as well as Houston Business Journal’s Diversity in Business Awards, and TITAN Awards– Platinum (Company & Organization and Entrepreneur). In 2022, Iapetus Holdings won the Houston Business Journal Inno FIRE Awards – Diversity, and the 18th Annual National Diversity and Leadership Conference Presidents Award. This month, the firm won Company of the Year-Gold, Taylor won the Entrepreneur of the Year-Silver and marketing and communications director, Sally Lechin, won Marketer of the Year- Bronze from the American Business Awards®.
Taylor and Iapetus COO, Tejpal Singh, cofounded Atlas Scholars, a 501c3 non-profit that annually provides a diverse group of high school students a professional development program consisting of mentorship, scholarships, and exposure to performance-based, professional environments. Once accepted, students are a part of a dynamic three-year program consisting of three one-month summer sessions and year-round mentoring. The program connects the students with industry leaders and exposes them to high-pressure, performance-based environments. Students go on to become leaders in their high schools, universities, and careers. To date, Atlas Scholars has benefitted 87 scholars and has awarded over $450,000 in scholarships. In 2021, Atlas Scholars won the ALLY Energy GRIT Trailblazer Superheroes Award. The 2022 fundraising event, Sunday for Scholars, will take place October 16, 2022, at the Houston Polo Club. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available.
About Rice Business Veteran’s Association
The Rice Business Veterans Association (RBVA) at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business was founded in 2011. RBVA serves as an enduring mission for veterans in business to continue to serve their community. With Rice’s commitment to the veteran community, the number of veterans in Rice University’s MBA program has grown from just a handful of veterans to over 40 veteran students enrolled in the MBA program. It was the phenomenal drive and dedication of RBVA students Corban Bates, Jordan Speaker, and Mike Tatz, who established the partnership between the Entrepreneurs Organization of Houston and RBVA, that inspired three Houston entrepreneurs, Al Danto, Mark Martin, and Roger Janik, to found Veterans Business Battle. RBVA students lead the event and serve as coaches to guide applicants in developing an effective pitch. They offer advice on business balance sheets, proformas, profit statements and other financial information investors need. They also serve to offer guidance to applicants who may be taking on equity or debt for the first time.
Next year’s Rice Veterans Business Battle will take place April 7-8, 2023.