State officials begin business startup program for veterans

The first class of military veterans in the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program began coursework at the program’s inaugural boot camp recentlywith Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs

Secretary Joey Strickland, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and other officials welcoming them at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center in LSU Innovation Park.

Created this year, the LVEP program will enable service members leaving the military to gain intensive training in the initial boot camp, followed by long-term counseling from small business resource partners. Developed through a partnership of LED, LDVA, the Louisiana National Guard, the Louisiana Business & Technology Center and LSU Executive Education, the program will train 19 veterans in the initial camp and an estimated 108 participants in its first year. Goals target at least 30 percent of the participants launching a business and collectively raising at least $5 million in startup capital.

“The best thanks we can provide to Louisiana veterans who have given so much to our nation and our state is the promise of a better life for them and their families,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “As a veteran and small business owner myself, I know the sacrifices required for service to our country and the satisfaction that comes with success after service. This LVEP initiative combines many of our state partners in a powerful way to ensure that Louisiana veterans can achieve their dream of business ownership.”

The National Guard Transition Assistance Program is assisting in marketing the new initiative to veterans and military personnel statewide through the program’s advisers and employment coordinators.

Once veterans complete LVEP, they will be provided resources in their communities for followup support and small business counseling. Louisiana’s Small Business Development Centers, business incubators and other small business partners will be available for ongoing business coaching after completion of the boot camp.

Veterans who would like to participate in the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program may learn more at OpportunityLouisiana.com/LVEP.

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