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Help offered for military-owned businesses

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The founder of the New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce, which serves businesses owned by veterans, active military, the National Guard, the United States Reserves and their family members, throughout New England, wants to hear from its constituents.

As the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, sweeps across the country, temporarily shuttering businesses and devastating the economy, the founder of NEVCC wants to hear from military-involved business owners in hopes the nonprofit may be able to offer an assist.

"We understand we are in a time where there are unknowns, and we have a lot to figure out," said NEVCC Executive Director Lisa Ducharme of Belchertown, Mass., who created the organization a year ago to connect the 140,000 military-owned businesses in New England to one another.

"We want to be able to help military and veteran businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont," she added. "We have many resources. I don't know that we can help everyone, but we have resources, and we would like to see how we can work together to manage problems."

Ducharme can be reached at

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While she has seen no official reports on how small business owners are being impacted by the virus, she is sure there is indeed impact.

A retired United States Air Force veteran, Ducharme created NEVCC under the umbrella of the United States Veterans Chamber of Commerce, which assists military-involved business owners with advertising, advocacy and networking. NEVCC offers the same services.

Ducharme is the daughter of a retired Air Force Vietnam veteran, a retired Air Force veteran herself and the mother of a retired Army veteran. She holds a bachelor's degree in hospitality and tourism management with a concentration on event planning from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a master's degree in public administration from Westfield State University, and several certifications.

Ducharme now serves as the veteran and military service coordinator at Westfield State University.

To learn more about NEVCC or its member businesses, visit


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