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More Michigan Veterans Becoming Business "Vetrepreneurs"

Matt Sherwood, a service-connected disabled veteran who now heads up VetBizCentral, says veterans are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship. Photo courtesy of M. Sherwood.
Matt Sherwood, a service-connected disabled veteran who now heads up VetBizCentral, says veterans are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship. Photo courtesy of M. Sherwood.
August 6, 2015

FLINT, Mich. – They're used to taking orders in the military, but a growing number of Michigan veterans now are calling the shots with their own businesses, thanks in part to an agency that helps guide vets through the start-up process.

Matt Sherwood is executive director of VetBizCentral, an agency which helps veterans put together and refine business plans and ideas. He says while starting any business can be risky, veterans have a skill set that lends itself well to entrepreneurial ventures.

"Leadership, discipline, making sure the mission is followed through," says Sherwood. "And the franchise business model is one that it provides a checklist, and most military people love to work off a checklist because it gives them structure."

Sherwood says statistics show veteran-owned franchises actually are twice as likely to succeed as non-veteran ones. Through its counseling sessions, workshops and events, VetBizCentral reached more than 8,000 veterans last year, double the previous year.

Sherwood says in today's post-war climate, when consumers know that a business is veteran-owned they're more likely to support it. He says that's just part of the ripple effect veterans can have on the economy.

"Most veteran businesses tend to hire other veterans, so it's a real big economic impact for veterans to start, create, expand their businesses and hire veterans," he says.

Right now, Michigan has about 65,000 veteran-owned businesses, or nearly nine percent of all small businesses in the state. VetBizCentral, which is housed within Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan in Flint, recently expanded its services to also serve veterans in Ohio and Indiana.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI