Wisconsin Veterans Chamber forms Madison chapter

Milwaukee organization was founded in 2015

Lisa B. Nelson, director of public affairs for Walmart, handed Saul Newton, executive director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, a check for $10,000, making Walmart the chamber’s first Gold Star sponsor. (PHOTO: Eagle Creek Photo).

The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in Milwaukee in 2015, is adding a Madison chapter.

Lisa B. Nelson of Walmart hands Saul Newton a check for $10,000, which made it the chamber’s first Gold Star sponsor. (PHOTO: Eagle Creek Photo).

The Veterans Chamber focuses on advocating for and assisting veteran-owned and veteran-friendly businesses, as well as veterans in the workforce. It also hosts events and makes introductions to help them network with businesses and community leaders.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 3,876 veteran-owned businesses in Dane County. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates there are more than 65,000 veteran-owned businesses in Wisconsin employing more than 168,000 people and bringing in about $30 billion in annual revenue.

“With nearly 4,000 veteran-owned businesses based in Dane County alone, veterans are a critical part of the local economy,” said Saul Newton, executive director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud join an engaged, active, and supportive community in Madison dedicated to empowering veterans, service members and their families.”

The Madison chapter does not yet have a physical location, but 15 of the Chamber’s 148 members are based in the Madison area. A group of Madison-based volunteers will organize regular events in the market, including business education workshops, presentations for employers and networking opportunities for the veteran business community, Newton said.

“Veterans are very well-represented in the Madison area. You have a very active and engaged veteran community,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that we were providing our resources and support and promotion to this community of incredibly involved and engaged veteran business owners.”

“It certainly doesn’t hurt that the state capitol is based here. We’ve been fairly vocal about legislation in the past, at the local, state and national level.”

The Veterans Chamber will host its first Madison chapter event on Tuesday. The Madison Veterans Chamber Muster will be held at Great Dane Pub & Brewing on the city’s east side from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Veterans, professionals, business owners and community leaders will network at the event, which is free for chamber members and $10 for the public. Madison-based UpCycle Marketing LLC, a veteran-owned business, will lead a digital media marketing workshop at the event.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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