(March 22, 2012) -- To support U.S. veterans returning to civilian life with the dream of starting their own businesses, Chase has provided a $100,000 grant to The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development to expand its services for veterans through the creation of the Veterans Business Development Program. UTSA expects the expanded program will result in the creation of 20 veteran-owned businesses and the expansion of 40 veteran-owned businesses.
"Chase recognizes the tremendous sacrifices of our nation's men and women in uniform," said Jay Clingman, chairman of Chase in San Antonio. "Helping veterans start their own business is a great way to honor their service and say 'thank you' for helping preserve our freedom."
According to the Institute for Economic Development, the 2011 unemployment rate for veterans hovered around 15 percent, compared to a nine percent unemployment rate for the general public.
"Increasingly more veterans are walking in our doors and asking us for help with realizing their dream of owning a business," said Terri Williams, director of the Institute for Economic Development Contracting Resource Center. "Many want to start their own businesses because it has been difficult for them to find employment. We help them start those businesses and find contracting opportunities with the federal government as well as private corporations. With this help from Chase, we will be able to expand our capacity to help more members of our veteran population become successful business owners."
The UTSA Institute for Economic Development assists men and women from the U.S. Armed Services, National Guard and reserves through its Veterans Assistance and Services Program. Through the program, veterans receive support in business start-up, business planning, market research, financial planning, loan assistance, government contracting assistance, sales and marketing, website and logo development, and franchise ownership.
The institute also offers confidential one-on-one advising, training workshops, market research and resource referrals, and veterans can tap the institute to learn how to work in new markets, particularly among commercial, local, state and federal entities. The Chase grant will expand the institute's suite of services, so that veterans have more access to the information, education, counseling and training they need to establish new businesses.
In 2007, a veteran tapped UTSA for assistance in expanding his health-care referral business. Since that time, he has expanded the business into new markets and, in 2010, successfully bid and won a $3.5 million contract to provide the Department of the Army with health care staff for the Dewitt Community Hospital. Last year, the company won a $2.5 million contract to provide drug-testing services to Lackland Air Force Base, a contract that generated 50 new jobs.
Similarly, a veteran-owned food services company sought the expertise of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development in 2009 to assist with procurement opportunities. UTSA helped the business increase its client base and expand into new markets. The moves caused financial stress to the company that would have limited its growth. UTSA and its partners helped financially restructure the company to free up its lending capacity and position it for new contracts. The company since has received a three-year, $25 million line of credit to hire 30 staff to support its growth.
"San Antonio is home to four military bases and approximately 48,000 military retirees -- a hub of military activity -- and the Institute for Economic Development is uniquely positioned to provide beneficial assistance in a timely manner to veterans in the South West Texas Border Region who wish to start a new business or expand an existing business," Clingman said.
Chase is committed to serving America's military and veteran communities. Early in 2011, Chase established the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy focused on jobs, homeownership and education. Chase and 10 other large companies founded the 100,000 Jobs Mission in March 2011 to collectively hire 100,000 by 2020. The coalition hired more than 6,600 veterans in 2011 and has grown to 39 member companies.
Chase promotes the economic growth and development of veteran-owned businesses and reviews veteran status as part of the selection criteria for suppliers. All contracts with suppliers contain language with goals for veteran-owned businesses as subcontractors. Chase is a Three Star Corporate Member of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association, has a seat on the NaVOBA Corporate Advisory Council and participates in veteran-owned business tradeshows.
Active-duty service members, members of the Guard and Reserve and veterans who own small businesses also can take advantage of Chase's special business banking offers that includes monthly service fee waivers and up to $500 off qualifying loans as well as other benefits.
The UTSA Institute for Economic Development is dedicated to creating jobs, growing business and fostering economic and community development. Each year, the institute serves more than 37,000 small- to medium-sized businesses and organizations offering professional business consultation, technical training, research and strategic planning. Its programs primarily serve the Texas-Mexico border area and regional, national and international initiatives.
Chase has 4,400 employees and 50 branches in San Antonio. The bank committed or helped raise $8.7 billion for Texas governments and nonprofits in 2010. There are seven Chase Homeownership Centers in Texas including a location at 1020 North East Loop 410, providing one-on-one help for families struggling with their mortgage payments.
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