The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. has recently appointed Makeba Butler and Lisa Taylor as co-directors for the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program at WWBIC, which covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.
In 2018, WWBIC received funding from the SBA to host the VBOC, which provides support to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members and families, and military-connected families interested in starting or growing a small business.
In 2019, the VBOC team served 230 clients through outreach and counseling, and 283 clients through education at Boots to Business and Reboot classes. Looking ahead to 2020, there are 14 Reboot classes scheduled throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. In addition, WWBIC will be partnering with the Veterans Chamber of Commerce in Wisconsin to create a new business accelerator program specifically targeting Veteran entrepreneurs and business owners.
VBOC@WWBIC has deployed an innovative model to support its tri-state partners in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota by leveraging the expertise of two co-directors to lead the journey to small business ownership. Taylor, former VBOC@WWBIC associate director and most recently interim director, will join Butler as co-director. Taylor will be the lead for Wisconsin and Butler will be the lead for Illinois. Together they will co-lead efforts in Minnesota.
Butler comes to The VBOC@WWBIC with extensive experience, most recently as the associate director of Veteran Programs and the IL PTAC at the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago. She is an Air Force veteran and former education professional. She earned a Doctor of Education degree in Transformational Leadership from Concordia University-Portland and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University.
Prior to coming to WWBIC in 2018, Taylor was the founder and owner of Strategic Partnerships LLC, helping employers create effective employee engagement and retention strategies, as well as the co-founder and former CFO of Marten Building and Design Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Associate’s Degree in accounting from Madison Area Technical College. She is a military spouse with her husband currently serving in the Army National Guard.