National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program Overview
The VEP is comprised of three phases: a five-week self-study component, an intense eight-day training program at the University of Florida, and a five month mentorship period with online peer-to-peer networking. This three phase program offers an innovative and effective combination of focused, practical training in venture creation and growth, as well as a support structure for graduates of the program.
- Phase I: Concept Development and Self Study
Over the initial five-week period, delegates will participate in a self-study curriculum developed for the VEP, facilitated by an online discussion and assessment module, which will be moderated by entrepreneurship faculty. This phase enables delegates to work on development of business concepts and prepare for Bootcamp at the University of Florida campus in May. Those with existing businesses will work on understanding and shaping relevant business issues.
- Phase II: VEP Bootcamp
Like a military boot camp, this seven-day residency in Gainesville, FL is intense, rigorous and demanding. It is an opportunity for hands-on learning and interaction with faculty, guest entrepreneurs, business experts and peer delegates. The bootcamp exposes VEP participants to the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership through experiential workshops and lessons from world-class faculty representing nationally ranked programs around the country.
- Phase III: Mentoring and Venture Development
Delegates are provided with five months of ongoing mentorship from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts and online peer-to-peer networking. This phase of the VEP will enable delegates to get feedback specific to their ventures and offer extended hands-on learning that is critical to success.
Please note we have shifted the dates of VEP 2021 from May to August in hopes that an in-person experience for Phase II will be possible. If guidance from the CDC and the University of Florida prohibits an in-person experience in August 2021, we will adjust Phase II to be provided virtually.
|February 15, 2021||Application Deadline (apply as early as possible)|
|Rolling Admissions||Acceptance Decisions|
|June 28 – July 30, 2021||Phase I: Self Study and Business Concept/ Issues Development|
|August 15 – 21, 2021||Phase II: VEP Entrepreneurs Bootcamp|
|September 1, 2021||Phase III: Mentoring and Business Development Support, Online Peer to Peer Networking|
The VEP is free to veterans who are selected for the program. Instruction, materials, travel expenses, lodging and meals for the Phase II Bootcamp will be provided at no cost to each delegate. The costs of the VEP are underwritten by sponsors and private donors, with operations and program development provided by the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at the University of Florida.
VEP targets veterans who meet the following three requirements:
- Have separated from active duty service (or are in the administrative process of separating) with an honorable discharge
- Identified as disabled by the Veteran’s Administration or Department of Defense based on a “service connected” disability(or)
- “Service distinguished” based on exemplary military conduct
- Demonstrate an intense interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management