(Part 1) It's hard to believe that we have passed the halfway point of 2022. We've had an exciting year thus far, and have some incredible new programs, services, and events coming up that we're excited to share with all of you!
Join Adam, Saul, and Christian as they discuss the WI Veterans Chamber of Commerce's big plans for the remainder of 2022.
Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.
Wisconsin Veterans Forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization that serves veterans and military families by supporting veteran owned and veteran-friendly businesses throughout the state.
On behalf of our members, we serve as an advocate for Wisconsin’s veteran business community and promote economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.
Follow us on all platforms: https://linktr.ee/Wivetschamber
Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward. It is hard to believe, at least for me, that we are over halfway done with 2022. That's insane. I feel like the years keep going faster as I get older. Maybe that's how time works. Uh , next week we'll be discussing , uh , time theory. Now we won't, now we won't get into that, but Hey , uh , look, here's the deal time flies, whether we want it to or not. And here we are in July mid-July and we haven't done a state of the union, a state of the chamber yet, and we've been in the habit of doing it at the beginning of Q1 and the beginning of Q3. So here we are , uh , we've had an insane first half of our year. And a lot of you have seen the things that have happened , uh , but a lot of it was a lot of excitement and hurry up and weight sort of stuff , uh , which we're gonna get into. Uh , but we had some huge events. Uh , we had, you know, another iteration of our veterans in the workforce summit. Uh, we had , uh , veterans light up the arts, which was a success yet again , uh , we've had a ton of great events, a lot of great new programs and our , our biggest victories as an organization have been from a funding standpoint in that we've been awarded, you know, by, by merit of the work that we have done up until this point, we've been awarded , uh , some significant grant funding to expand our operations throughout the entire state and expand our programs and to expand our events throughout the entire state. Um, and, and our, our veteran owned and military spouse owned business support and our military, our veteran owned business , uh , supply chain development , uh, our , our educate our programs, our education to , uh, for HR and hiring professionals on acquiring , uh, and retaining veteran talent. I mean, all of those things we're able to expand now. Um, and, and we are in a planning phase , uh , because you know, some of you have recalled. We , we had the photo op with the giant check when we got that massive grant , uh , from the state , uh , which was a blast. Haven't seen a penny of it yet, and that's nothing against the state. It's just how that process works. Anybody who has gotten a grant knows that it's not like, Hey, okay , here's your grant, take your money and run. <laugh> like , that's , that's not how it works, especially for big money grants. Uh , so, and this was definitely a big one. Uh , so we are in, you know, that's what I meant by hurry up and wait in that we had all this preparation and all of this planning, leading up to receiving it. And now we're in preparation planning for how we're going to utilize that. And today that's what we're gonna talk about. This state of where we're at now with the chamber and what our plans are for the second half of this year and beyond , uh , and our special guests are the rest of the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce staff, your favorite people , uh , president and CEO, Saul Newton, and vice president of membership, Christian Thornton. It's like, it's, it's a dream team right here. This is like , uh, if veteran chamber of commerce employees were a basketball team from the nineties, this would be the dream team. I don't know which one I would be. I'm gonna ask the guys when they come back, which basketball player they would be from the 1990s dream team. So guys get ready for that. We're gonna get into it. And more right after this, you are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of email@example.com , motivated to talk about the state of the chamber friends, Christian Thornton, and Paul Newton . How are you guysSpeaker 2:
Doing well?Speaker 3:
Doing great. Glad to be ,Speaker 1:
Uh , was that a , uh , was that a good enough introduction? And do you have an answer for my question? If you were a player in the 1990s USA dream team, who would you be?Speaker 2:
I gotta go with, you know, say for those who know my background, you know, flying , um , I'd have to go with air Jordan. <laugh>Speaker 1:
OK . For sure. For sure.Speaker 1:
I , I have to look up original dream team now. <laugh> cause I wanna , I wanna make sure that I get this right. <laugh> um , I know it's not , uh, not Isaiah Thomas.Speaker 3:
No, he , he was left off.Speaker 1:
He was left off.Speaker 2:
Maggie was on this , was it magic Johnson .Speaker 3:
Carl Malone , John Stockton, Charles Barkley Pippin and Jordan.Speaker 1:
Okay .Speaker 3:
I'm missing some. So is , uh , I think Larry Bird was on there. So as much as I might say, I wanna be Larry Bird . I'm think, I think I'm more of a , of a BarkleySpeaker 1:
<laugh> , you know , uh , I'm gonna go with Scotty Pippin and I'll tell you why, because Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan, but he is not Michael Jordan without Scotty Pippin. And I feel like I'm a pre valuable utility player. I'm I'm I'm supporting cast . That's what I would say.Speaker 2:
Plus you don't have the hair to be Robin , soSpeaker 1:
That's Robin's on there. Was he really? No, no ,Speaker 2:
No. Oh , I got my , my team's mixed up.Speaker 1:
Mm-hmm that was, that was, that was later my goodness. Okay. Well, anyways, we got a little sidetracked there, probably my fault, definitely my fault. But folks we're talking about , uh, with, with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan here , uh , we are talking about the state of the chamber. All right . And the things that we're gonna be talking about are, are membership our marketing and communications and our programs. And then in particular are program funding. And we're gonna blast through this and give you guys an overview about what's going on and then let you go about your Wednesday. So Saul, let's start with you and my friend, can we talk about programs and our like probably our most exciting part , uh, is, is our expanded program funding and, and , and all that great stuff. So what do we have, where are we at now? And what do we have coming up?Speaker 3:
Uh, well , uh, folks might remember this spring. We were really excited to announce that we're part of a group of organizations , uh , including Wisconsin veterans network, Wisconsin department of veterans affairs and others who are bringing a newer program , uh that's that exists at the national level called ETS sponsorship , uh, to the state of Wisconsin. Um, this is a, a peer support program , uh, that matches , uh , service members as they're transitioning from active duty , uh, matches them with, with volunteer sponsors in the communities , uh, where they will be relocating to helping them build , uh , not only relationships, but also kind of get a lay of the land of , uh, you know, what life is gonna be on the outside, so to speak. So , uh, everything from , uh, health and wellness, housing, education, family support , uh, to employment. And that, that specifically the area that we are focusing on , uh, is working with this program , uh, and connecting employers who are looking to connect with veteran and military affiliated talent. So , uh, we are in the midst of developing , uh , a really , uh, what I think will be a , a pretty , uh, revolutionary job board. Um, I know , uh , that there are , uh , a litany of, of different job boards, employment resources available nationally, as well as in Wisconsin. Uh , this one will have some, some functionality that's really unique to the needs of transitioning service members , uh, share information about benefits , uh , compensation and , and benefit packages, and, and be able to compare that to , uh, to the military equivalency for that service members . So we really see this as , uh , a talent development , uh , initiative , uh , something that can help us attract job seekers , uh, and, and military veteran , uh , employees to the state of Wisconsin. Uh , we know that that those folks have incredible experience skills, talent , uh , that our state's , uh , business really is , is in desperate need for it . And so we're excited to be able to, to bridge that divide and connect those dots and, and , uh, further put Wisconsin on the map as, as a destination of choice for service members and their families , uh, you know, once they, once they leave active duty.Speaker 1:
So ETS sponsorship. So, so we're , if we're talking about the whole pipeline of veterans from military service to reintegration, to forming a business or becoming employees and, you know, contributing to our economy and everybody, you know, Wisconsin becoming the best state ever. Uh, so step one is that transition and we are , are gonna , our , our plan is through ETS sponsorship, which is a proven program , uh , and , and to use our resources , uh , through the program, through the mentorship , uh , program and through this job board, which will be unlike any other job board , uh, just simply because our criteria is , is, well, you'll see it , it's gonna be amazing. Um, so we have that, we're gonna have that on lockdown , or at least we're going to be doing our part to support that. Mm-hmm , we're , we're doing more coming up though , for these , for some other avenues. Right . What about for the business ownerSpeaker 3:
That certainly ties into the, the funding opportunity that you mentioned , uh, during the intro? Um, we were really fortunate to be selected to receive , uh , some funding from the state of Wisconsin , uh, that , uh, really invest in organizations like ours , uh, you know, couple dozen different organizations , uh, all who focus on diverse and underserved businesses. Uh, so that runs the gamut from , uh , minority owned businesses and businesses owned , uh , by people of color , uh, women owned businesses, LGBT owned businesses, rural businesses , uh, you know, folks that just , uh , historically have had , uh , a more difficult time accessing resources, accessing assistance , uh , capital. Uh , and so, you know, our focus is obviously on the needs of, of veteran business owners. Uh , a lot of folks maybe don't realize that even though veterans start businesses at, at higher rates compared to non veterans , uh , they also face some, some more significant challenges in business ownership than non veterans do , uh, specifically around , uh , access to professional networks. Uh , which makes sense, because while you're in the military, you're not necessarily developing a professional network , uh, access to technical assistance , uh, uh, you know, the, the places that you can go , uh , either to, you know, if you're, if you're just starting out , uh , to learn how to write a business plan to access some of the, the support that's available through programs like the SBA or, or through the state of Wisconsin, local governments, et cetera , uh, and, and also , uh, you know, resources for existing businesses that , um, maybe are looking to grow or scale their, their operations , uh, and finally , uh , access to capital , uh, access to either investment or, or loan capital , uh, research from Syracuse university found that veterans are four times as likely to be denied lending capital as non veterans are. Uh , I hope I'm citing that statistic correctly. Uh , if anybody from Syracuse happens to be listening and, and <laugh> , uh , wants to clarify, they're welcome to do so. Uh, but the, the fact remains that there are, there are some , uh, significant barriers that , uh, veterans specifically , uh , face in, in , uh , starting and growing businesses. And so , uh, you know, our focus is obviously on, on how can we address those first and foremost, how can we serve as a connection point as a facilitator for veterans starting businesses with all of the, all of the existing resources that, that , uh, are, are available , uh, locally statewide and, and across the, across the country. Um, there are some really exciting programs , uh, nationally coming online that , uh, would certainly benefit veteran own businesses. And so to the extent that we can, we wanna , uh, you know, funnel folks in those , in those directions. Um, but the, you know, our , our role is, is also to, to fill those gaps and, and to do what we can to help facilitate those, those professional, the development of those networks to help , uh, provide that technical assistance, that direct support , uh, to focus on things that, that really are, are somewhat unique to , uh, or uniquely applicable to veteran business owners, things like contracting programs, supply chain programs, procurement programs , uh, and , and then ultimately , uh , how can we help veteran business owners , uh, you know, access the capital that they need to start and grow their businesses , uh, you know, in a, in a sustainable way , uh, you know, we don't necessarily want to see folks maxing out credit cards or , uh, you know, putting themselves in really dire financial straits in their endeavor to start a business when there are so many other resources available to them , uh, that can help meet their needs without necessarily putting them at a disadvantage. Um, so that's, that's the, the focus of , uh, you know, our work with, with veteran business owners, how that manifests is going to include hiring , uh, in bringing on , uh , more people to our team , uh, you know, more outreach and , uh, service folks, so that we are better able to meet the needs of all of our members across the state. Uh, you know, we, we have been very deliberate about , uh, you know, hosting different events, offering different engagement opportunities , uh, in, in communities across the state, doing more things virtually so that , uh, you know, veteran business owners, entrepreneurs, military spouse, business owners, and entrepreneurs, so that they can access what we're doing , uh , regardless of where they live. Uh, but, but nothing really replicates that, that direct outreach that local, that local contact. And, and so , um, you know, a big part of this funding is going to be , uh , dedicated towards expanding our capacity to provide that technical assistance and that direct support , uh, and , and to do so in a way that really reflects , uh, kind of the changing business landscape, you know, obviously , um, we're , uh , COVID is still very much , uh, you know, a factor , uh, in, in kind of the overall business environment. And so , um, you know, now businesses have even more , uh , have even more of a , uh , of a , you know, I guess the best word would be charge or , uh , even more of a need to, to be, you know, to have a robust digital presence and, and to have a good understanding of eCommerce , um, to, you know, be able to , uh, you know, adjust to very quickly changing, you know , uh, operating environments , uh, you know, whether that's public health orders or supply chain issues or workforce shortages, all of these things are, you know, an , an extra inextricably linked to, to COVID . Um, and so , uh, you know, that's, that's really gonna be, our focus is , um, you know, there there's, there's the , uh, you know, the, the direct support that we need veteran own businesses that we know veteran own businesses need. Uh, but the, in addition to that, there's also the , uh, kind of updated and , uh, new operating environment that these businesses are gonna be in. Then how can we make sure that they're best positioned for success?Speaker 1:
So when you say this funding, we're referring to the, the big, the giant check with governor Evers, that photo. So if , if anybody's wondering, you know, Hey, didn't you guys get $2 million ? Um , well, yes , uh , we were awarded that grant that has not come to us yet. And if you're wondering what we're planning on doing with all of it, that <laugh> , mm-hmm , <affirmative> what what's all just said. All right , we're gonna continue this lots more information coming up in the very next episode of Wisconsin veterans forward. It's already been published. It's sitting there waiting for you , see you over there. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward, brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.