Programs growing to help veterans start businesses - WNCT

Programs growing to help veterans start businesses

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Judy McLean knew food service was her future after six years in the Army, and now she has been making her catering business a reality for four years.

"I know food. So that really wasn't my issue," said McLean, who now owns and operates Let Me Cater to You. "It was knowing taxes, and knowing the laws."

McLean got advice from the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development in Downtown Fayetteville.

"There are resources available. They're out there," McLean said. "You just have to tap into them."

Another option for current soldiers looking to leave the Army soon is the Boots to Business program. It is a two-day course that teaches soldiers the basics of business planning.

"Also letting them know that being a veteran and being in the military has prepared them," explained Tamara Bryant at Fayetteville Technical Community College. "They are natural entrepreneurs -- being goal-oriented, self-disciplined, risk-taker, resourcefulness."

Bryant helps organize Boots to Business. She says for veterans already out of the military, there is even more help up the road at Fayetteville State University.

The university has a Veterans Business Outreach Center that offers ongoing help to veterans trying to start a business, including an eight-week course. The course is modeled after a successful program at Syracuse University.

The course at Syracuse offers a month-long online course followed by an on-campus seminar that is a week long. Corporate sponsor cover the costs of the program.

"Programs like this are needed. They're necessary in order to help us in business," McLean commented.

She said many vets may not know what Fayetteville State is offering now because the program started just three years ago. She said she will be spreading the word.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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