Ready Vet Grow, Veteran services
Ashland Area Development Corporation (AADC) is looking for Ashland and Bayfield County veterans who are interested in starting their own businesses. Carver Harries, AADC Executive Director, recently announced that the organization has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) through the Veterans’ Entrepreneur Grant Program. The funding will support the successful Ready-Vet-Grow program, which is designed to provide professional entrepreneurship instruction, customized coaching, and mentorship to military veterans who would like to launch a new business in Ashland or Bayfield Counties.
In 2018, AADC received a similar but smaller entrepreneur grant from DVA which was used to fund the first Ready-Vet-Go program. Classes offered instruction in subjects like business plan development, bookkeeping, marketing skills, and legal considerations for new businesses. The program also featured a mentorship component designed to connect participants with local veterans who run successful businesses. “The networking aspect can be instrumental in helping a good business plan become a successful business,” Harries said. “AADC partners with knowledgeable local veterans who are willing to share their time and expertise by serving as mentors to new veteran entrepreneurs through this program.” Participants who successfully completed the classes and developed a business plan were also eligible for funding to help get their start-up businesses off the ground and running.
As a result of the 2018 Ready-Vet-Grow program, several new entrepreneurs successfully launched startup businesses in both Ashland and Bayfield Counties. Local veteran Scott Weber and his wife Laurie completed the program and officially opened their business, Window Licker Cannery, last year. “Between the two of us, we have more than fifty years of experience in business,” Weber said, “but we’ve always worked for other people. This course opened our eyes to all of the things that we thought we knew but didn’t.” Weber noted that the information regarding business taxes, insurance, and the differences between types of corporations were of particular value as they made decisions about moving forward with their canning business. “The Ready-Vet-Go program helped us both hone our business skills. It helped set us off down a particular path that was right for us and our business.”
“Starting a business can feel overwhelming and intimidating,” Harries said. “AADC has the resources and an established track record of helping businesses in the Ashland area for many years. This grant from DVA will allow AADC to provide targeted professional support to the local community of veterans who can continue their tradition of leadership and discipline in an entrepreneurial context.” Harries added, “Veterans who own businesses often seek out other veterans when making hiring decisions. Laying a foundation for healthy, veteran-owned businesses in Ashland and Bayfield Counties through customized support and education allows increased opportunity for service members who grew up here to return home to work and live after they separate from military service. This program is an investment in our community.”
This year’s Ready-Vet-Grow program will be comprised of a series of evening classes held at AADC’s Enterprise Center in Ashland. Enrollment is open to Ashland and Bayfield County veterans regardless of what type of business they would like to start, how much experience they have in business, or where they are in the process of developing their business concept.
For more information, to receive updates about the 2022 Ready-Vets-Grow program, or to add your name to the list of interested participants, veterans can stop in to the AADC at 422 3rd Street West in Ashland, call (715) 682-8344, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashland Area Development Corporation
AADC started in 1957 to help incoming and existing businesses get the help and resources they need in all stages of planning and growth from start-up to expansion and retention. We specialize in three key areas: Business plan writing and review (and business classes), Management of our Incubator Space so you can find commercial rental space for your business (what a streamlined serice!), and Administration of four revolving loan funds so you can have your operational and equipment needs met so you can do the thing that drove you to start your business to begin with!
Business Services, Business Coaching, Ready Vet Grow,
M-TH: 8am - 4:30pm
F: 8am - 4pm