UTC College Of Business Hosts Veterans Entrepreneurship Program

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

For the third consecutive year, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program is offering free training and mentoring in entrepreneurship and small business management to our nation’s disabled and service distinguished veterans. 

Participants in this year’s VEP are attending an eight-day boot camp at UTC through Saturday, July 26. In addition to the entrepreneurship courses taught by College of Business faculty and guest entrepreneurs, the delegates meet with community leaders, top military officials and will attend a graduation ceremony on Saturday, July 26, featuring former U.S. Representative Zach Wamp. 

The UTC VEP was created by Dr. Mike Morris and is based on a successful model at Oklahoma State University. The program is hosted by the UTC College of Business in partnership with Oklahoma State and the University of Florida. The program is a direct response to the challenges faced by service disabled veterans with physical or psychological disabilities. 

“The VEP builds on the skills that veterans learn from their military careers and helps them focus those skills toward the creation of new ventures through intense entrepreneurial training and mentoring,” said Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean of the UTC College of Business. “Our goal is to help veterans create businesses as a means to their own financial wellbeing, and we are honored to provide the VEP to those that have done so much for this country.” 

Participants in the VEP have already completed a five-week, online self-study to help them develop their business concepts and prepare for the boot camp at UTC. Like a military boot camp, the eight-day residency 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 boot camp exposes VEP participants to the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership through workshops and lessons from faculty as well as guest appearances by top-ranked officers and successful veteran business owners. A full range of business topics are presented, from cash flow management and HR issues to patenting and marketing products and services. 

Following boot camp graduation, delegates receive 10 months of ongoing support from entrepreneurship experts at the UTC College of Business and online peer networking. This allows the participants to get specific feedback regarding their ventures and provides access to professionals who can answer specific questions and offer extended hands-on guidance. 

Since the program began in 2012, the VEP has had a total of 31 graduates and helped launch 14 businesses, including several in the Chattanooga area. Another five businesses are in the development phase. 

Jeremey Chapin, who served in the U.S. Army, is a 2013 VEP graduate. He began making hand-crafted pens as therapy and decided to use his skills to start a business—Woodworks. 

“I closed my first sale during the boot camp last year to a contact I made at one of the VEP networking events,” he said. 

The VEP is free to eligible veterans who are selected for the program. Travel expenses, lodging and meals for the boot camp are provided at no cost to the delegate. The costs of the VEP are underwritten by sponsors, including Walden Security, and private donors, with operations and program development provided by the UTC College of Business.


Boyd Buchanan School Unveils New Playscape For Elementary

Boyd Buchanan School has completed one of “the largest Elementary Parent Council funded projects ever,” according to Elementary Principal Gail Maddux. The school’s $90,000 new playscape design is inspired by children’s literature and contains storybook quotes throughout the area. “We took a nontraditional approach to the typical playground design,” said Ms. Maddux. “More than ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Announces President's And Dean's List Students For Summer 2016

Georgia Northwestern Technical College announced the students on the President’s and Dean’s Lists for the 2016 summer semester. To be eligible for the President’s List, the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.8 or higher with a course load of at least 12 credit hours. To be eligible for the Dean’s List the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.5 to 3.79 with a course ... (click for more)

TBI Adds Jereme Little To Top 10 Most Wanted; Was Set Free By Judge Stern And Then Higher Court Overruled Her

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has added to its ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list Jereme Dannuel Little, who was freed by order of Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, whose decision was recently reversed. Little is wanted by the Chattanooga Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for especially aggravated kidnapping. The TBI said, "Little has a history of ... (click for more)

Gaines Charged In Assault On Ex-Wife, MLK Boulevard Barber

Eric Lee Gaines has been arrested for an assault on his ex-wife and a well-known MLK Boulevard barber. Gaines, 33, of 2803 Curtis St., was charged with disorderly conduct, domestic assault, assault, burglary of a business, public intoxication and retaliation against an officer. In the incident on Thursday, police were summoned to MLK Boulevard on an intoxicated individual. ... (click for more)

Jonathan Welch Is To Be Commended For His Leadership On The School Board

Dr. Jonathan Welch has faithfully served the Hamilton County Board of Education, representing District 2, for the last four years. He ends his time on the school board as chairman, a role he stewarded well during a tumultuous time in our school system as we prepared to search for a new superintendent.  Jonathan has served our school system and represented ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Georgia’s Weak Attacked

The United States Attorney’s Office and our nation’s Justice Department just thrust an unwelcomed spear into the heart of the state of Georgia. And while I am scared to death the same war party is now headed into Tennessee and other states, I wish the DOJ had stopped in Chattanooga for lunch and a quick visit at our Orange Grove Center before filing last Tuesday’s lawsuit against ... (click for more)