Updated: April 16, 2021 06:23 PM
Created: April 16, 2021 03:26 PM
When transitioning from active duty to civilian live, many veterans find themselves struggling to find a new career path in life. For those looking to start their own business after the military, there are resources available to get started by the U.S. Small Business Administration targeted specifically to those who have served.
The program is called Veterans Business Outreach Center or VBOC. The program is operated in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota in collaboration with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. It provides veterans, active-duty members and their family members free entrepreneurial development services like business training, counseling and resource partner referrals.
Dan Newberry, the co-director of VBOC, served his county and now has his own business operating a gym for veterans. He is helping veterans like him who want to start their own business after personally knowing the challenges many of our military members face after serving.
"When I was getting out I personally have struggled with my own transition for three years. I was trying to find adequate work and I was trying to kind of figure out my way," said Newberry.
That's where Newberry says VBOC comes into play by providing the guidance, support, counseling, and training needed to start a business.
"It's really great to see service members take those skill sets that they acquire when they're in the military. Attention to detail, leadership and managerial skills, all those things are required to be a successful entrepreneur," said Newberry.
In the middle of a health pandemic, it's even more challenging and daunting to start a business. That however didn't stop veterans Matt Caple and Ben Gipson. They used services like VBOC to get help on their business journey called Warrior Brewing Company. It's located at the former location of Lake Superior Brewing Company on 2711 W. Superior St.
"Having an outlet such as entrepreneurial opportunities like this is great for veterans that are looking for an opportunity to be their own boss," said Caple.
"We went through the SBA and they put us in contact with different organizations to help us prepare for our business," said Gipson.
They are set to start production of their brewing company next week. They'll be brewing up imperial stouts, a golden honey ale, IPA's and plan to be in local liquor stores by June. Now that they have overcame the hurdles of starting a business, they offer advice to other veterans who want to get started.
"Find mentors, find a network of people who can help and assist you. Trying to do it alone is definitely a lot of burden on your shoulders and kind of difficult. There's a lot of resources out there," said Gipson.
"You've served your country. Now it's our chance to really get to serve you and help you start a new journey," said Newberry.
If you would like to learn more about the program and how you can get help, click here.
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