Training Our Veterans to be Entrepreneurs

Helping veterans launch a new business, and find re-employment should be at the top of our list to help re-ignite this country. It costs $37,056 annually to support a veteran and his family who is unemployed. In May 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the national unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2%, but the unemployment rate for veterans spiked to 12.7% — more than 4 percentage points higher than the national average. When you start focusing on specific veteran groups, for example post 9/11 veterans, the unemployment rate in Arizona is 27%.  Arizona is proud to be home to 531,910 veterans, and if the same 12.7% unemployment rate is applied, supporting veterans and their families is very costly. To support 12.7% of veterans in AZ (67,553), it costs approx. $2.5 billion annually. Even if we were to only focus on 5% of the veterans who are unemployed in the state, it would save the State of Arizona $125 million annually. Source: U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs 2013.

Not only does this Camo to Company initiative help reduce costs to state governments, it also helps create new jobs. On average the entrepreneurs who take our training go on to create 10 new jobs. If we can effect about 35% of those going through the training, that equates to 3,500 jobs for every 1,000 trained.

Back in 2011, I started a foundation to help our veterans. GO*VETS Foundation was created as a 501c3 charitable cause to assist our military veterans with their transition to the private sector and being more self reliant by helping them launch their own company, expand their existing small business, or find employment. (www.govetsfoundation.org)

The purpose of the Foundation is to give back to our military veterans who have courageously served their country, by providing intense business training in a system that is vastly improved over what has been available.  This Entrepreneurial Training system has been tested and proven for 10 years as the basis of an entrepreneurial system at a major university in the U.S. Over 3,500 MBA students were trained. From those trained, students launched over 1,000 businesses that created over 12,000 jobs.

I built this system, and helped develop the entire Entrepreneur system at the university including competitions, local business leader mentoring program, the curriculum, materials and a degree in entrepreneurship.

Through our network of corporate partners, GO*VETS Foundation is also in a position to help facilitate employment opportunities for veterans not ready to start their own business. Through this Re-employment initiative, we teach innovation, leadership, strategic business tools, looking for opportunities, forming strategic partnerships, along with many other traits that we need in our businesses. The bottom line is this, if they are not ready to start a business, that is totally fine. They will be better served in the company they end up working for, as they learn these new, innovative and entrepreneurial skills.

You can always check out my website and see how we are doing this, and providing training for entrepreneurs of all walks of life, including our military heroes! (www.brianhazelgren.com)

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