Posted on Dec 8, 2011 @[email protected]

Former Navy Petty Officer Ronnie Reum knows how to safely jump out of a helicopter into the ocean but is having a hard time finding clients for his small commercial-cleaning company.

The 36-year-old veteran, who has little business experience, is now being mentored in marketing with the help of an eight-month-old “business accelerator.” Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer Inc. of Milwaukee is one of a handful of free programs that have sprung up in recent years to assist veterans attempting to become entrepreneurs after struggling to join the civilian work force.

At VETransfer, Mr. Reum has access to expert advisers as well as cubicle space with Internet service and a phone line to run his business. He hopes the program’s advisers will help him figure out how to turn his Milwaukee start-up, Healthy Spaces Cleaning, into a profitable enterprise. The veteran, who left the military in 2002 following an injury, started his business in late 2009. Mr. Reum says the business, which had revenue of about $25,000 this year, is his main source of income.

Overall demand is soaring for enrollment in programs designed to help veterans start businesses.

Mr. Reum says he had to wait five months just to get a slot in VETransfer, for instance.

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