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Veteran Program In Full Swing

LizPerezIn August 2013, we hired Liz Perez (pictured left) as our Veteran Outreach Consultant to ramp up our veterans program, driving outreach efforts and facilitating referral relationships between traditional veteran serving organizations and CAMEO member organizations that specifically serve veterans. It’s been about six months, so we decided to check in with Liz for an update on the program.

CAMEO: What are your main goals?
Liz: Our goal is to work with CAMEO members to reach the veteran entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs. Our ultimate goal is to create more veteran entrepreneurs and business owners.

CAMEO: What kinds of activities are you engaged in or planning?
Liz: During the first three months I met a lot of CAMEO members throughout the state and planned a lot. As a new program, we’re looking at which strategies will have the most impact for the members and the veterans.
We hit the ground running with two veteran events in San Diego during October. On the 8th of October, we participated in Reboot’s Veteran Women’s hiring and Entrepreneurship event. Over 150 Veteran women attended the event, 26 of whom showed interest in starting their own business. We connected the veteran women with local CAMEO resources and some have attended additional CAMEO workshops. The following day, we were on a panel at the UCSD/MIT Veteran Entrepreneurship event, where we promoted the CAMEO Entrepreneurship Veteran Program and promoted CAMEO partners like ACCION San Diego, and the SBA and the SBDC’s in San Diego.

CAMEO: The workshops kept you pretty busy, right?
Liz: Yes, in November, December and January we had six workshops in San Diego and Riverside. These workshop topics included veteran franchising, business financing, and certification. We also provided veterans with local and national resources and introduced them to CAMEO members.

CAMEO: What are the outcomes so far?
Liz: To date through workshops or working remotely, we have assisted over 228 veterans to start or grow their business through. In every case, we have referred these veterans to CAMEO members in their region and other resources that might be available.

CAMEO: What are the plans for the next few months?
Liz: I’ve got a few things on our agenda. One is to follow up with CAMEO members to see how the referrals are working. So if anyone has served a veteran that’s attended a workshop, let me know! Another priority is to connect CAMEO members with veterans groups and foster relationships between the micro sector and the veterans groups, so if you’ve got a group that you’ve been trying to make headway with, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. And number three would be to help CAMEO members market their services to the veteran population. And we’ll be partnering with the Prosperity Center and others for a workshop in Orange County on March 26 and attention LA partners – we’ve got something scheduled for the end of April.

CAMEO: Thanks Liz, we’re excited to see what manifests and hear about new veteran businesses that are opening across California.
Liz: And we are extremely excited about being a part of the CAMEO family, too!