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New Pa. law helped veteran business owners save nearly $200K in startup fees

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Veterans who started new businesses in Pennsylvania last year saved $178,000 in startup fees under a law passed in 2016.

Pennsylvania’s Startup for Soldiers program, which became effective at the beginning of 2017, waives state business startup fees for people transitioning from the armed forces, including reserve units and the National Guard, to the civilian workforce.

“Eliminating fees for our military veterans and reservists is another way to foster the best possible business climate in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

“At the same time, we are showing veterans the gratitude they deserve for their service and sacrifices.”

The program, which operates in the Pennsylvania Department of State, is part of a growing trend of small-business programs aimed at helping veterans. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, veterans are 45 percent more likely than nonveterans to start their own business.

State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, who represents parts of Berks and Lehigh counties, wrote Pennsylvania’s Startup for Soldiers law, which is based on a similar program in Missouri.

Startups for Soldiers helped 1,613 veterans save on business and professional licensing fees, according to the state.

Licensing fees were eliminated for 21 applicants, who saved more than $16,000.

“This legislation was a passion project for me because it allowed me to work with our state’s military men and women to give them the support they deserve to become entrepreneurs and to help our state’s economy through fostering more small businesses,” Mackenzie said.

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