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The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dan Zimmerman announced today $400,000 in grants to non-profit organizations that provide entrepreneurship training, or technical, business or other assistance to veteran entrepreneurs to improve employment outcomes.

“We are proud to support veterans who are choosing to invest in themselves to create businesses right here in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker about the grants. “We want to invest in our veterans because they bring unique skills, shaped from their time in the service, to our workforce.”

“Veterans are a powerful and valuable presence in the workforce,” Zimmerman said. “Hundreds of Wisconsin employers offering thousands of jobs are seeking Veterans for their businesses. However, many other Veterans desire to be their own bosses. WDVA is excited to support organizations helping Veterans realize their business dreams through our Entrepreneurship Grant program.”

There are about 360,000 veterans living in Wisconsin, about half of those are working age. Approximately 11 percent of all businesses in the state, or 65,000, are veteran owned. Wisconsin’s veteran owned businesses account for about $20 billion in annual sales.

Grant recipients included Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Milwaukee. It was awarded $100,000 to expand economic opportunity for Wisconsin veterans, military service members and military families. The grant will be used to help veteran entrepreneurs leverage existing resources, offer educational programming to veterans, help veterans address the unique challenges as they start and grow a business, and organize a new market of consumers.

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.