Veterans with disabilities who dream of becoming an entrepreneur have a resource in the Oklahoma State University Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, which is now accepting applications. The program is free to participants.
“Our purpose with the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) is to empower disabled and service distinguished veterans to create and grow their own ventures. Once accepted, participants complete an online self-study session and an intense eight-day on-campus bootcamp, followed by 10 months of mentoring and support from elite entrepreneurship educators from around the country, VEP faculty members and volunteer entrepreneurs,” said Brooke Stuart, events and marketing specialist at the school’s Riata Center for Entrepreneurship. “It’s a three-phase program that’s a year long. It’s at no cost to the vet.”
Applications are being accepted until October 1; about 50 participants will then be chosen. On December 5, those participants will start with a five-week, online self-study program. After that, they will head to OSU’s Stillwater campus for an intense eight-day training session, which includes hearing from successful graduates, Feb. 4–11, 2012.
Program participants will also receive help putting into practice what they learned.
“We provide them with a mentor who’ll stay with them for the rest of the year,” Stuart said.
Louis Irvin, consultant for Paralyzed Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Program noted, “When you start your own business, a lot of learning goes with it. Entrepreneur programs give you an opportunity to gain education and learn about some of the pitfalls, so you’re not as exposed to them.”
For information, visit the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program website at http://entrepreneurship.okstate.edu/vep, e-mail VEP@okstate.edu, or call (405) 744-7552.
Patrick McCallister is a reporter in Florida and frequent contributor to PN Magazine.