A 2019 survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that nearly half of post-9/11 veterans experience some level of challenges readjusting to civilian life. Veterans who served in combat are significantly more likely to experience challenges, the survey found. It’s a jarring change that is often exacerbated by factors including PTSD, not knowing how to apply skills learned in the military to “real-world” jobs, and a misunderstanding among the general public regarding military life and skill sets developed there. As a result, one is left with feelings of inadequacy and being an outsider.
I had my own challenges, including bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts, until I found help through the Veterans Administration, which eventually put me on a path to launch my own physical fitness organization. Particularly as the economy rebounds from pandemic-induced challenges, it will be entrepreneurs who lead the way in business development and job creation. Veterans with an entrepreneurial spirit definitely have a role to play on this front and have a great resource in the WWBIC/VBOC to help turn an idea into reality.
Veterans of all ages interested in starting a business can utilize the VBOC, and for many it’s the first step toward finding meaningful work in the civilian world. Dan Newberry is co-director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center serving Wisconsin and Minnesota. For more information about the program, visit wwbic.com/veterans.
The Wisconsin VBOC provides business development services to active duty service members, including the Guard and Reserve, veterans and their family members. Services include programming on how to launch a business or grow an existing one, identifying funding sources, and providing assistance with veterans business certification. I’m now also co-director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center here in Wisconsin, which is operated in collaboration with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.
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