We all make it a point to honor our veterans on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but it’s appropriate to remember those who have served and sacrificed for all of us year-round.

And it’s a fact that veterans return home and continue serving their communities in a myriad of ways. Here’s one: the U.S. Small Business Association says that military veterans own as many as 2.4 million businesses, generating $120 billion in payroll annually and employing almost 6 million people. That means, on average, one out of every 10 businesses in the U.S. is owned by a veteran.

At the Illinois Small Business Development Center of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University, we are committed to providing education to veterans to further their entrepreneurial spirit and enhance their business opportunities. We are encouraging all veterans to consider attending, on Sept. 18, a comprehensive workshop presented by Newman’s Own Foundation, the Women’s Business Development Center office of Veteran Business Assistance Services and the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation.

The workshop will be held at the Illinois State University Alumni Center from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 18. The event includes breakfast and lunch and there’s no charge as Country Financial representative Matt Potts is sponsoring the event! However, space is limited to 20 participants and attendees must register at www.mcleancosbdc.org/events by Sept. 16.

The day will include several sessions of interest and critical importance to the military-connected community:

  • Starting a Business
  • The 5 “Ms” of Marketing
  • Using VA Benefits for Homeownership
  • Post-Military Job-Readiness Training

You can phone the SBDC at 309-556-3580 for more information.

According to the Small Business Association, veterans are roughly 45% more likely to form their own business compared to people who haven’t served any time in the military. And it’s a highly motivated and talented business community, as well. Seventy-eight percent of veteran small business owners are retiring from the military with 20 years of service — that’s a lot of experience!

If it’s not possible for you to attend the workshop, SBDC is happy to meet with veterans to discuss putting their business ideas on the road to reality. We can also familiarize them with many programs and opportunities unique to veterans. Please contact us for an appointment.

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Bussone is director of the Small Business Development Center, Illinois Wesleyan University.


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