35 • President and founder •
12B Capital and Veteran Entrepreneur Alliance • Meridian
From the time he took his first job in the credit card processing industry, Isaac Belden understood that honesty and transparency were all most entrepreneurs needed from their financial services company. To the misfortune of many business owners, however, they weren’t getting it.
While he had risen through the ranks and secured a job as a vice president of sales and marketing, Belden outlined a vision for his own business. When word got to his employer, he was met with an ultimatum in the form of a non-compete agreement.
“I told my wife that day, ‘Hey, remember how we wondered what it would be like to actually do this,’” Belden says about starting 12B Capital. “She believed in me and in the business from day one.”
Today, 12B Capital has a strong client roster that continues to grow predominantly by word-of-mouth referrals, boasting a retention rate well above industry expectations. He says his commitment is driven by the simple idea: “their wins are my wins.”
Belden grew up in a suburb of Portland, Ore., and was immersed in a crowd of mischief. He was 13 the first time he experienced live gunshots while walking with a friend to the neighborhood grocery store. He later moved to Bonners Ferry to live with his grandparents and finish high school, and found some new perspectives about his potential future.
That’s when Belden decided to join the National Guard, to help him see new parts of the world and foster fraternal bonds with his fellow servicemen and women. After serving overseas in Iraq, he plummeted into a struggle that many veterans face — returning to civilian life. It was this experience that kickstarted his ambition to give back.
“As a business owner, I feel that I have a duty to do what I can to help others,” Belden says.
His company’s 12B Gives program pledges a best rate guarantee and 10% of gross revenue to his client’s nonprofit of choice each month. On the coattails of the initiative’s repeated successes, he continued sharing his ideas for bigger next steps.
Soon, an event materialized that drew in 100 attendees and raised more than $8,000 for a local veteran-focused nonprofit organization. After the event, Belden was offered an opportunity to create the nonprofit organization Veteran Entrepreneur Alliance.
“It’s a rarity in my field to be the pursued and not the pursuer. This typifies Isaac,” says Brent Taylor, CEO of Wyakin Foundation. “His ability to pair good ideas with action is what makes the difference. I’ve watched his ideas flourish as he grows his own business as well as his desire to promote entrepreneurism among our veteran community.”
In just three years as a business leader, Belden has discovered how skills formed from military service such as focus and determination can translate to marketable and transformable business leadership.
“I feel so far from done,” he says. “In the next 20 years, I hope I’m supporting a thousand nonprofits. I just want to keep helping others grow.”