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Program gives back to Veterans by providing new business opportunities

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WAOW) — “Boots to Business,” a program that is giving back to Veterans, was held on Friday at River Cities Bank in Stevens Point.

The class brought in 13 Veterans or family members to Veterans, equipping them with the necessary skill set and knowledge to start, and run, a small business.

Lisa Taylor, Associate Director for Veterans Business Outreach Center in our region, said small businesses play a major role in every local economy.

“They may be starting a business,” Lisa Taylor said. “They may be thinking about starting a business and we’re here to help guide them and provide resources for them. We know that most businesses in any given area that is economically strong are small businesses, with less than 50 employees. In a lot of cases less than 10 employees.”

The Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point said veterans can be ideal business owners.

“Veterans are a great group of entrepreneurs,” said Melissa Meschke, the Director for the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. “It’s because they’re trained to be so organized and they tend to stick to a schedule and really do well.”

A former class participant, Craig Cook, now owns a successful small business that specializes in fly fishing merchandise. He mentioned that without the program he wouldn’t have been able to get it started.

“When I was looking at starting my own business and going into this, the people were just absolutely bent over backwards to help me out,” Cook said. “They were willing to point me in the right direction and give me that honest feedback that I needed to make sure my business was going to be successful.”

If you’re a veteran and interested in finding a class in your area, you can go to

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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