Veterans, family members can earn up to $500 for entrepreneurship training

MADISON – Veterans and their immediate family members can receive up to $500 for the Wisconsin SBDC Network’s Entrepreneurship Training Program, thanks to a state grant and partnership with Bunker Labs Wisconsin.

The opportunity is part of a larger, multi-organization effort made possible through a $238,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday.

Up to 36 veterans or their spouses/children are eligible for a $250 registration reimbursement and an additional $250 upon successful completion of the course and their business plan.

The Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) is an 8- to 10-week course offered by SBDCs across the state. Based on the Lean Startup Framework, it helps aspiring entrepreneurs test their business idea and develop a business plan.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) supports ETP with funding to cover 75 percent of the $1,000 tuition, or $750, for those who successfully complete the program, leaving applicants only responsible for the $250 registration fee.

This new Bunker Labs-SBDC initiative means veterans or their spouses/children could have the ETP course covered 100 percent and earn an extra $250, contingent upon successful completion.

In addition to the coursework, participants get personalized SBDC coaching and mentoring to complete their business plan.

“Last year, SBDCs across Wisconsin provided business consulting to 210 veterans,” said Neil Lerner, state SBDC associate director. “We are excited about this additional incentive available to help veterans start or expand their business.”

Thousands of students from across Wisconsin have completed ETP and gone on to start or grow their businesses. For more information, go to

Form DD214 is required for applicants to show eligibility for this special opportunity for vets.

“We are ecstatic to have this opportunity to expand and accelerate our mission to Inspire, Educate, and Connect veteran entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses throughout Wisconsin,” said Michael Ertmer, Executive Director of Bunker Labs Wisconsin.

With 14 locations across Wisconsin, Small Business Development Centers have provided businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to start, manage and grow since 1980. In 2016, Wisconsin SBDC consultants provided confidential, no-cost consulting to 2,567 clients, leading to 238 new businesses, 695 new jobs, 195 retained jobs and almost $76 million in capital investment.


About Wisconsin SBDC Network

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational programs. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises. The Wisconsin SBDC, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, features 14 local centers mostly located in four-year UW institutions, with outreach and virtual services covering the entire state.

About Bunker Labs Wisconsin

Founded in 2014, Bunker Labs is a national not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans as leaders in innovation. Through local chapters organized in 14 cities across the nation, including Madison, Bunker Labs provides educational programming, mentors, events and thriving local networks to help veterans start and grow businesses.

About The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network.