I am extremely pleased to announce that the Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Program is now open for applicants. I realize that many of you may not be familiar with this program or perhaps you have heard of it, but don’t know what it really encompasses. Having been through this program myself in 2010, I want to explain a little bit about it because this is an incredible opportunity. The best thing about it is that it’s offered absolutely free to those who qualify!
This program is offered to all disabled veterans or veterans who have distinguished themselves during their military service, and who are interested in starting up a business, or if you already own a business and want to take it to the next level, this program is one of the best executive level training courses I’ve ever attended. I can say this with confidence as I have also attended Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth as well as business programs at UT of Austin and UT of San Antonio. The program, V.E.P. as it is commonly referred to, is offered through the University of Oklahoma. It will take you from the very beginning nuts and bolts of starting a business, through operations, and then through all the different critical aspects of actually running a business. This includes legal establishments, company structure, financials, marketing, daily operations, and company operations. The majority of the courses are taught by successful entrepreneurs who are in business for themselves, and all of these professors have a true passion for business.
If you are interested in applying, you can follow this link at Oklahoma State University’s website and download an application, or I can forward an electronic copy of the actual marketing brochure through email. This brochure has all the particulars as far as how to apply for the program.
To give a little bit of background about the program itself, there are three phases:
-Phase #1 – This is what I call a distance learning program. It’s about four or five weeks long, usually in the November/December timeframe just before the holidays. Now once you have been selected to participate, you are referred to as a “delegate.” Delegates are broken down into two groups with one group consisting of those who have an existing business and have put up a shingle. The second group are those who have concepts and a business model in mind and who wish to see those ideas reach fruition. Next, you are provided with log-in information to a closed network on their website which allows you to discuss and chat with fellow delegates which allows you to get to know each other. At the same time, you are moderated by the professors at Oklahoma State who then start introducing readings for you to peruse before coming to the next meeting. This allows you to start building a framework and the base of what you will be studying more in-depth once you actually arrive at Oklahoma State.
-Phase #2 – This phase is affectionately known as V.E.P. boot camp. You are flown in for an eight day residency on the campus there at Oklahoma State. You stay in their hotel on the university grounds and you walk to your courses every day. You are fed by them and let me say that you are fed very, very well. Keep in mind this is all provided totally free to you. Of course, this is not a vacation so there is little time to hang out and check out the sights. You’re up around 7:00 to 7:30 every morning, starting with breakfast, and then you head for classes where you will receive real hardcore instruction. When I went thru the program, there were times when we were there until 9:00 or 10:00 at night working on a project, preparing briefings or discussing business concepts for our own companies. However, time flies during these eight days and it is extremely rewarding.
-Phase #3 – After you complete your eight days of residency, you are flown back home for more distance learning. This is a mentoring and venture development phase. You are assigned a mentor who is an experienced entrepreneur, usually someone who is in your same industry if possible. That mentor serves in a coaching capacity and although they may be some distance from you, they are always ready to lend an ear and offer advice when you contact them. My mentor was from Tulsa and he was well established in a construction business. Although I was fortunate in that I had a local mentor here in town, I still reached out to him on occasion, and he was very helpful.
I welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone concerning this incredible program. If you are a disabled veteran interested in starting your own business, please don’t hesitate to contact me.