CHICAGO – Thursday, December 19, 2013. As many veterans struggle to find a job or start a career, the administration of Governor Pat Quinn hosted more than 100 veterans at the College of DuPage to learn about starting or growing their own businesses as part of the state's "Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneurs" (MV2E) program.
“The state of Illinois stands ready to do everything necessary to help our veterans hit the ground running when they return home,” Governor Quinn said. “This innovative program helps veterans apply the skills they learned during military service - precision, discipline, teamwork - to building a successful business.”
At the direction of Gov. Quinn the MV2E initiative was launched in June 2012 by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), with the goal to help returning service members and veterans learn more about resources and opportunities available to veteran-owned businesses through government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations, business sector experts and employers. This joint-agency MV2E program underscores Gov. Quinn’s long-standing commitment to both supporting veterans and creating jobs.
“We know that for veterans to successfully integrate back from service, employment is key to the transition,” said Erica Borggren, Director, IDVA. “Self-employment – running one’s own business – is a great way for many veterans to translate military leadership and mission-focus into civilian world success. We are pleased to host events like this to help veterans turn their passions into thriving businesses and in turn, create jobs right here in Illinois.”
MV2E was offered in three distinct tracks for veterans and transitioning military:
• ESTABLISHING & DEVELOPING BUSINESS CONCEPTS - For those veterans interested in or just beginning on the path to entrepreneurship.
• SOLIDIFYING YOUR BUSINESS FOUNDATION - Geared towards helping fledgling businesses grow, engage for government business/contracts, and to help employ others.
• CRITICAL RESOURCES FOR TODAY’S BUSINESSES - A more advanced track to help established businesses master the market and enjoy a stronger financial and operational base.
“Through our Veterans Business Program, CMS provides veteran- and disabled-veteran owned businesses information about doing business with the state and its universities,” said Simone McNeil, Acting Director of CMS. “Getting re-established in the civilian workforce can be challenging for our military men and women, and we are proud to help them understand the available entrepreneurial and employment opportunities in Illinois.”
The CMS’ Veterans Business Program (VBP) allows for Illinois businesses that are 51% owned by one or more service-disabled veterans or veterans living in Illinois, with annual gross sales under $75 million, to qualify for certification. VBP encourages state agencies and universities to spend at least 3% of their procurement budgets with certified Veteran-owned businesses.
Presentations and workshops at the free MV2E event included information from companies such as AT&T and organizations such as the UIC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies (IES), John Marshall Law School and others. Veterans also had the opportunity to network and exchange best practices with agency experts, key business associations, and like-minded professionals.
Since its inception in 2012, the MV2E program has provided training and networking for over 600 veterans. This is the sixth MV2E seminar and for more information on the MV2E program, please visit: illinois.gov/veterans/programs/Pages/Veterans2Entrepreneurs.aspx