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Veteran wins FedEx grant to upcycle military surplus

MEMPHIS: August 10, 2017. FedEx has awarded the Grand Prize in its 2017 small business grant competition to Sword & Plough founders Emily Núñez Cavness and Betsy Núñez.

FedEx is providing US$100,000 in funding and US$20,500 in grant and business services to its first, second and third place winners of its latest annual competition.

Growing up at West Point, where her father Joseph Núñez taught political science, not only inspired Cavness to become an officer in the U.S. Army, but to create a company with her sister to give back to military veterans.

Sword  PloughIn 2012 they founded upcycling company Sword & Plough to transform military tents, sleeping bag covers, bullet casings and other military surplus into fashion clothing and accessories.

"From the beginning, Sword & Plough has been about more than just creating bags. We've always been excited to create high quality products, but our hope was that these products could be used as a platform to promote change," said Cavness.

In less than four years the company, with its quadruple bottom line goal of people, planet, profit and purpose, has supported 65 veteran jobs, repurposed more than 35,000 pounds of military surplus and worked to bridge the civilian-military divide by donating $35,000 in-kind and 10 percent of its profits to veteran organizations.

"Sword & Plough's 'repurpose with a purpose' model positively impacts our military veterans, our environment, and promotes greater understanding between the military and civilian world," commented Bonnie Voldeng, director of Go-to-Market and Content Strategy at FedEx. "This company, and the visionary entrepreneurs behind it, represent just how important small businesses are, not only to the U.S. economy, but to society as a whole."

(Pictured left to right: Emily Núñez Cavness and Betsy Núñez. Their company offers free FedEx shipping on orders over US$100.00: shop)

Other FedEx small business winners include: second place Flexfrost Protein Ice Cream - more protein than Greek yogurt but less sugar; third place Yellow Scope – makers of science kits for girls; Terra Klay – handcrafted teaware by female artists from India; Nurdle in the Rough jewelry - crafted in Hawaii from ocean plastic debris and recycled precious metals; Brian Bogge Chairmakers – handmade furniture from Asheville, NC; Scratch & Peck Feeds - soy-free, organic and non-GMO animal feed; Funky Fresh Spring Rolls – handcrafted, grilled and made from local ingredients; G.Joannou Cycle – quality bicycles for every age group; and The Konery – makers of hand-rolled waffle cones, bowls and fortune cookies in a variety of flavors.

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