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June 21, 2018

Department of Revenue Leadership Participates in Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

JEFFERSON CITY

Missouri Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters and Chief Operating Officer Ken Zellers recently participated in an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), hosted by the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University of  Missouri. The EBV is a national entrepreneurial and small business education program designed to teach and train post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities. Walters and Zellers attended the event in support of veterans and their impact on economic development.

“I’ve been repeatedly impressed by the great things Dean Ajay Vinzé is accomplishing at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business,” said Walters. “When he connected me with Professor Greg Bier and I learned about the work he’s doing to assist veterans in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams, I immediately saw an opportunity for me and the DOR leadership team to get engaged. I’ve been very excited to start getting involved, and the DOR leadership team and I look forward to helping in any way we can.”

This year, 18 veterans from across the U.S., representing the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, participated in the weeklong series of workshops and presentations to gain cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business development. The aim of the program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

During the event, veterans shared their new business ideas, and Walters and Zellers offered their business expertise, as well as insight into how to start and register a new business. Walters joined the Department of Revenue with 35-plus years of high-level private sector tax and finance experience, and Zellers previously held numerous senior roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev. 

“Entrepreneurship is the backbone of American business, and it’s our veterans who’ve fought for and safeguarded the freedoms we enjoy, including the freedom to start our own business and to be our own boss,” Zellers said. “It was an honor to meet with the veterans participating in the EBV and to have the opportunity to give back to these men and women who’ve given so much in service to our country and citizens.”

According to the EBV National Program website, the “EBV has produced more than 1,300 graduates, with 68 percent having launched a new business venture after completing the EBV program.”

“Ken and I are incredibly grateful to the Trulaske College of Business for inviting us to this year’s bootcamp,” added Walters. “We’re especially grateful to all the veterans we met for sharing their ideas, stories and experiences. The entire DOR leadership team is truly excited about this new partnership, and we look forward to working together to help our veterans realize their dreams of owning their own businesses and to move Missouri’s economy forward.”

This year’s bootcamp took place on Mizzou’s campus from June 1 to June 9. It was the Trulaske College of Business’ third year hosting the event. Visit http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/ to learn more about the EBV National Program.    

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