Natalie Tennant unveils plan to help military spouses start their own businesses

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant visited Mercer County to unveil a plan to help military spouses. 

In 2015, the Secretary of State’s office worked on a bipartisan bill that allowed veterans to avoid startup fees when creating their own businesses. Now, former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant wants to expand the bill to include military spouses as well.

She says military spouses have high unemployment rates, at roughly 24%, and this extension could greatly help them. 

“We had a lot of people who said ‘I lost my job, I can start my own business.’ The same can hold true for our military. On a consistent basis we see that military spouses have a much higher unemployment rate. So we need to be able to address that,” Tennant said. 

The issue is military families may relocate together within the US when they are deployed. And because those deployments are temporary, employers may be unwilling to hire a military spouse. 

“What happens is they go and they aren’t sure how long they’re going to be there, so a potential employer isn’t necessarily ready to hire them for a short period of time.”

The original bill got rid of business start up fees for veterans, and the annual report fee for the next four years. That bill passed with great bipartisan support. And Tennant is hoping the same will happen again when they try to expand the benefits on to military spouses. 

“On a bill like this that extends from something that’s already in place, something that’s already successful, something that’s already saved veterans money. Then I foresee it being a whole lot more successful early on and quickly.”

On average, potential savings from waiving business startup fees are around $200. Tennant said that although that amount seems small, it can be a huge number to an individual trying to support their own business.

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