T.J. Breeden helps turn vets’ ideas into careers

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BY MARTI MAGUIRE

T.J. Breeden was watching President Barack Obama talk about the country’s debt to veterans on television five years ago.

Soon after, some military family members asked his advice about how to transition into new jobs. Something clicked in Breeden’s mind.

Less than a year later, Breeden was invited to Washington, D.C., to be honored as one of Obama’s Champions of Change for his efforts to help veterans start new businesses.

Breeden, 32, says the unusually fast growth of his nonprofit eMerging Entrepreneurs was part luck. His low budget forced him to do much of his work online, which turned out to be a great draw for younger veterans.

Since then, Breeden’s impact has spread and recognition for his work has continued. He has sponsored several conferences and workshops on veterans issues, and last year he started a program to expose at-risk youth to entrepreneurship.

Breeden recently won two major awards: for his humanitarian efforts and for business community service.

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