AUGUSTA– Speakers such as former Congressman Mike Mauchaud, Senator Angus King and Representative Bruce Poliquin visited Augusta, Thursday to support Maine veterans in their success after their service.
The 6th Annual Conference for the Maine Military and Community Network brought ten programs together to discuss ways to integrate veterans into society after their service. Laura Allen, a Veteran Outreach Specialist said “The intention is community support. It’s designed to engage as many people and agencies and organizations that are interested in this topic and serving veterans in their community”.
The convention brought providers together to discuss collaboration and innovation ideas for veteran programs. Over two thirds of those attending the event were veterans looking for advice. “Without an active duty base here, it really is reliant on community stake holders to pick up the earnest of serving veterans in their hometowns” said Allen.
One of the programs showcased veterans who have started their own business’s, and how that has become a viable option for those looking to integrate back into the community. “They want to do great things because they have the drive and initiative to run their own business successfully. We want to show them, and give them the resources that we have that you’ve already payed for with your tax dollars, so its a seamless transition and they make that decision if they want to get into entrepreneurship as soon as possible.” said James Pineau, the Senior Area Manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Pineau says 97% of business’s in Maine are already small business’s, and those trying to start their own business find that there are similar traits and characteristics between being in the service, and being your own boss.