Focus on the Entrepreneur: Enterprising Veterans

Amy Pietsch with Envoy trainees

Focus on the Entrepreneur: Enterprising Veterans

Fall 2017

| By: Britten, Casey

New training modeled after successful program is assisting military veterans with their small business plans. 

Earlier this year, Fox Valley Technical College’s Venture Center received a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to offer the region’s first-ever entrepreneur initiative for military veterans. “The funding provides professional support and free tuition for participants in the Envoy program,” says Amy Pietsch, director of the Venture Center.

Fifteen participants are enrolled in the current Envoy initiative, modeled after the Venture Center’s successful 13-week E-seed™ program. “This is a diverse group of men and women of all ages who served in almost every facet of the military,” says Pietsch. “What they have in common is discipline and experience. They’re critical thinkers and problem solvers who understand the need for good systems and processes.”

As part of E-seed, Envoy participants learn from area business leaders who serve as mentors. In addition, completers of the program earn two college credits. “All the participants have feasible ideas and some are existing business owners looking to grow their enterprise,” says Pietsch.

Pietsch also credits community support for the success of the program. “We even have successful completers of E-seed volunteering their time to help our veterans,” she adds. 

The Envoy program is additionally supported by FVTC’s Veterans Resource Center. Plans are underway to apply for funds to continue the program based on its initial success.

Envoy program projects include these industries:

  • Software/Information Technology
  • Children’s Clothing
  • Agriculture
  • Organic and Natural Foods
  • Service
  • Transportation
  • Construction 
  • And more