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Minnesota National Guard
Event provides support for veteran business owners

Veteran Business Owners MINNEAPOLIS, Minn - The Vessey Chapter of the Association of the US Army (AUSA) hosted its second annual Veteran Business Owners Conference at Target Field in Minneapolis, Sept 10, 2015, providing business entrepreneurs the chance to learn what it takes to run a thriving company from experts in a variety of industries

Building on the success of last year's event, the conference brought in even more speakers and businesses to present on topics such as web marketing and financing a new business

"We recognize that there is a huge need for veterans to get together with business owners to network and learn new skills," said Mike Wolbrink, executive vice president of the Vessey Chapter AUSA "It's a great way to meet new people and an opportunity for someone already started to pay it forward by sharing their experiences"

A wide variety of industries set up booths in the Legends Club area of Target Field, from construction companies to financial institutions, in order to help service members interested in starting - or furthering - their own ventures Patrons of the event were given the opportunity to chat with established, veteran-owned companies and gather resources on the many steps it takes to get started

"This year we focused on starting, financing and marketing a brand-new business," said Wolbrink "There's 50 different things you need to know about how to start a business, and you can only be an expert in a couple of them"

One of the driving ideas behind starting this conference was that veteran-owned businesses tend to hire veterans, which allows service members coming home from deployments a greater chance at finding employment

"What we've found is veterans who are business owners within the Twin Cities are a tight-knit group that like to support one another; so this event is not only one to teach, but another way to get back together and talk about ways to help each other," said Craig Vernik, regional business banking manager of US Bank "It's a great way to stir some thinking and find ways to be better business owners as a whole"

One of the event's co-sponsors, Trust Vets, was also on hand to help business owners get linked up into their network A Minnesota organization started less than three years ago, the Trust Vets Directory connects the public to veterans in business in their communities

"Veterans have already proven through great personal sacrifice that they want what's best for their communities and neighbors around them, and so it comes down to Trust Vets when deciding on who you would prefer to do business with," said Joe Johnson, Trust Vets Founder "They've already earned our trust through their actions, so as far as I'm concerned They've already earned our business too"

Although next year's event does not yet have an official date, those who may be interested in attending can keep an eye on the AUSA Website for upcoming information

September 10, 2015
by Tech Sgt Paul Santikko
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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