State initiative promotes veteran-owned businesses

The state of Louisiana recently launched its “Veterans First” Business initiative to promote veteran-owned businesses. The initiative was created through House Bill 391 which passed unanimously during the 2019 legislative session.

“We know our veterans don’t stop serving when they come home. As business owners, veterans across the state continue to serve their communities with distinction and play an integral role in our economy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards, said in a news release.

The program allows veterans, active-duty personnel, Gold Star families and reserve-military business owners to complete a certification process, overseen by Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, which will add their business to a publicly searchable database at www.LAVeteransFirst.org. The site already has approximately 250 certified businesses present for viewing.

“I encourage everyone to make use of the Veterans First database by patronizing these business and remember to thank them for their great service to our state and nation as well,” Edwards said.  

Thomas Green, Veterans Coalition of Lake Charles chairman, said he has high hopes for the endeavor. “I applaud it. I think the business owners or even the  governments need to continually seek out those veterans.”

He said in his experience, often veterans are not aware of all of the benefits and services available to them. “I certainly support wanting to get the word out there more and more.”

In addition to the advertisement and marketing benefits of the initiative, Joey Strickland, LDVA secretary, said in a news release that the program will provide an additional networking avenue for those seeking employment upon their return. “We want our Louisiana veterans to be able to come back home and find meaningful employment so they can continue to provide for their families. The Veterans First Business Initiative is helping to do that by supporting veteran business owners and helping to connect them with their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who are looking for job opportunities.”

To register as a veteran-owned business or learn more, visit www.LAVeteransFirst.org.””Veterans First GraphicAmerican Press

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