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CBA backs veteran-owned businesses with new dedicated initiative

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has announced a new team and industry partnership designed to support veterans and their families to successfully transition to entrepreneurship, by helping build their thriving businesses.

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has announced a new team and industry partnership designed to support veterans and their families to successfully transition to entrepreneurship, by helping build their thriving businesses.

CBA has enlisted specialised business bankers to support past and present members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families who are looking to start or grow their own business.

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The specialised bankers are set to provide tailored support to the veteran community to help them transition from service to entrepreneurship.

According to CBAs executive general manager of small business banking, Clare Morgan, the new specialised banking team, otherwise known as Veterans Business Bankers, will include CBA employees who are members of the veteran community, and Reservists in the ADF as well as family of service members.

“Some of our team have walked the same path and understand how best to help veterans pursue their next endeavours in life.

“Veteran entrepreneurs will be able to access practical advice about how to create a successful and sustainable business as well as support to build connections with others in the veteran business community,” Morgan said.

For Matt Lewis, who joined the ADF after leaving school at the age of 18 in 1996, he had never thought of running a business as a realistic option. Having served in the Army in the 5th/7th Battalion (Mechanised), Royal Australian Regiment, Matt attained the rank of Section Commander before leaving the ADF in 2003.

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“Transitioning from the clear structure of the ADF to making decisions for yourself as a business owner was very daunting and it was easy to feel overwhelmed.

“I’m taking each challenge one step at a time and want to encourage others to have a go as well.

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed but just getting started and evolving your vision as you go can make a big difference,” Lewis said.

Initially turning to woodworking as a form of therapy to manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Lewis soon realised his hobby presented much broader opportunities.

“I’ve always tinkered with wood, but a short course I did with another veteran ignited it into a passion.

“Being able to take a raw product and make something out of it was cathartic and helped me focus,” Lewis added.

“I wanted to create something more.”

As one of one of more than 30,000 veterans turning their learned experiences in the Australian Defence Force into business skills, the challenges that small business owners typically face werent part of Lewis early experience and training on the frontline. The new CBA initiative is designed to help with tackling tasks like creating business plans, exploring business loans, credit cards and accounts, or working out weekly income and spending.

Veterans are also set to benefit from discounts and offers on business support materials and technology to help manage their business operations.

“Turning the idea into a business seemed like a pipe dream.

“I had a complete lack of business knowledge with no idea where to even start,” Lewis said.

According to Queensland small business banker and veteran specialist Julie Hall, each of the bankers in CBAs Veteran Business Bankers team brings their own connection and deep understanding of the military and veteran community to their roles.

“Veterans have incredible resilience and determination which provide a strong foundation for business success.

“Our new partnerships and dedicated banking specialists will help build on the many business opportunities available to the veteran community,” Hall said.

“As a member of the community myself, connecting with veteran-owned business customers is always a privilege.”

As a wife and mother to veterans, Hall understands the unique needs of veterans in pursuing their business goals.

“I’m thrilled to be able to support the men and women who protect our country as they navigate their next journey in business,” Hall added.

CBA is also sponsoring the Prince’s Trust Business of the Year, Beyond Service Award and works with Veteran Community Business Chamber to provide veterans with tailored education sessions on topics to strengthen business acumen, confidence and financial literacy.

[Related: CSIRO launches free cyber security support for SMEs]

 

Nastasha Tupas

Nastasha Tupas

Journalist – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Nastasha is a Journalist at Momentum Media, she reports extensively across veterans affairs, cyber security and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. She is a co-author of a book titled The Stories Women Journalists Tell, published by Penguin Random House. Previously, she was a Content Producer at Verizon Media, a Digital Producer for Yahoo! and Channel 7, a Digital Journalist at Sky News Australia, as well as a Website Manager and Digital Producer at SBS Australia. Nastasha started her career in media as a Video Producer and Digital News Presenter at News Corp Australia.

CBA backs veteran-owned businesses with new dedicated initiative
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