Program provides entrepreneurship training to veterans

“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” — Winston Churchill


The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) provides a rigorous entrepreneurial learning and development opportunity for service disabled veterans and those who have uniquely distinguished themselves in the military. It is designed for veterans who are interested in starting a venture as a means to financial independence or who have an existing business for which they would like to increase profits.

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 bootcamp, this eight-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 8 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.

VEP schedule

  • February 20, 2014: Application Deadline
  • March 1, 2014: Final Application Notification
  • March 24, 2014 — April 26, 2014: Phase I
  • May 3, 2014 — May 10, 2014: Phase II
  • May 19, 2014 — Jan 1, 2015: Phase III


The VEP tuition is free to eligible 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.

VEP targets veterans who meet the following:

  • 1 Have separated from active duty service (or are currently in the administrative process of separating) with an honorable discharge
  • 2 Either:
    A) Are identified as disabled by the Veteran’s Administration or Dept. of Defense based on a “service connected” disability
    B) Are “service distinguished” based on exemplary military conduct
  • 3 Demonstrate an intense interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management
  • 4 Veterans who reside in Alachua and Bradford Counties: Tuition assistance may be available for eligible veteran applicants through CareerSource North Central Florida. Eligible veteran applicants must apply and be approved before the course begins. Please contact Phyllis Marty at 352-244-5128, pmarty@

*To apply for financial assistance through CareerSource North Central Florida, applicants must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen, or authorized to work in the U.S., unemployed or underemployed (earning less than $25 per hour). Males born after January 1, 1960 must be registered for selective service. Eligible applicants must apply and be approved before the course begins to receive financial assistance.

CareerSource North Central Florida is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers in this email may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.

Click here to download the VEP flier.

veterans entreprenership program