Return The Favor: Helping vets start small businesses

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A state lawmaker wants to give veterans returning home from overseas help starting their own businesses. He’s introduced a bill that will create training programs at state-owned colleges and universities.

“I still think part of the American dream is being able to run your own business and be self-sufficient and to create for yourself,” Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) said.

Rothman has been in office for just one year and is committed to helping veterans. This is a topic he knows a lot about; he spent 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and also worked in real estate. He says a large number of people starting new businesses are veterans because they make good leaders.

“I think veterans generally are the types of people that aren’t risk-averse,” he said. “They’re willing to take risks. They pay attention to details. They understand about accomplishing missions. They have that in their DNA. The backbone of this country’s economy and Pennsylvania’s economy is still small business.”

Just as on the battlefield, Rothman says he wants new entrepreneurs to have the weapons they need to succeed. His bill would help those interested in starting a new business create marketing plans, learn to negotiate, and compete for government contracts; information he says benefits more than just vets. A successful business leads to jobs, and that’s good for everyone.

“These young men and women go out and risk their lives for us and I’d like to, when they get back, give them something more than just the G.I. bill, give them some training so they can go start companies and build this country, starting in Pennsylvania,” he said.

Rothman’s bill has 35 co-sponsors and bipartisan support. He hopes the bill moves forward in the fall. He thinks it has a good chance of getting passed and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

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