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Serving veteran business owners through care and connection

December 18, 2023
Man business owner serving woman customer.

U.S. Bank partners with the Veteran Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas to bring together veteran business owners

U.S. Bank and the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas are coming together to support veteran business owners, most recently through their first first U.S. Bank-sponsored event in Fargo, North Dakota.

“Many active duty military dentists, optometrists and medical doctors want to pursue their dream of owning their own practice,” said event participant Jeramie Eimers, who is based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is a business development officer in the Business Banking Healthcare division at U.S. Bank.

“It’s rewarding to be able to provide them with a holistic approach to meet their banking needs, and it’s key that we are there for those who are currently serving or have served our country," he said.

For Eimers, service has many meanings. He serves with the South Dakota Air National Guard 114th Fighter Wing as an active-duty National Guardsman. He also welcomes veterans home after Honor Flights to Washington, D.C. Alongside his colleagues at U.S. Bank, he strives to help active-duty military members transition into civilian life as business owners.

The more than 18 million veterans in the U.S. can serve as a powerful economic force as consumers, employees and employers. In fact, veteran-owned businesses make up about 5% of all businesses in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau published in 2023, covering industries from manufacturing to beauty and healthcare.

At the recent bank-sponsored event, dozens of veteran business owners came together to share challenges, find solutions and hear from Eimers and his U.S. Bank colleagues about starting and growing a business.

“We want our veteran business owners to find success, and being able to provide financial tips and business development strategies alongside my small business banking colleagues is central to that,” said Eimers, who sat on a panel during the first Brewing Financial Connections event in 2023. “Knowledge can be a key difference maker in whether a business can successfully grow and thrive.”

While the bank’s partnership with the VBOC of the Dakotas is new, the outreach center – which is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration – has been helping veterans for years. The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) of the Dakotas is dedicated to teaching key concepts for starting, running and operating a small business to veterans, active-duty members and military spouses.

“Our partnership with U.S. Bank is a fantastic collaboration that enhances our existing outreach efforts,” said Julie Hinker, the program director for the VBOC of the Dakotas. “U.S. Bank's commitment to supporting veteran-owned entrepreneurs aligns perfectly with our mission. It has been instrumental in helping us organize this event, which allowed us to reach a broader audience and offer valuable resources to veteran and military spouse business owners throughout the Dakotas.”

Recalling the first conversation he had with Hinker, Jesse Mamaril – the U.S. Bank community affairs manager for North and South Dakota – said an introduction call quickly turned into a brainstorming session on how to better serve veteran business owners. For both VBOC of the Dakotas and U.S. Bank, that centered around knowledge.

“There is wealth in knowledge,” Mamaril said. “Bringing together small businesses, nonprofits and other community leaders to share their expertise only builds a more sustainable community. Success in small business means a more vibrant local economy.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Hinker.

“Supporting veteran-owned businesses is a way of giving back to those who've served our country,” Hinker said. “By choosing to buy from or collaborate with veteran-owned businesses, the community helps boost our economy and create more job opportunities for veterans. It's a win-win situation that fosters a stronger sense of community and support.”

That resonates with Eimers, who spends his days supporting aspiring and current veteran business owners in healthcare at U.S. Bank while actively serving in the National Guard

“Helping a business owner start out, find their footing and grow is not something any one person or group can do,” Eimers said. “It, as they say, takes a village.”

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