Nashville-based band Here Come the Mummies brought their own special brand of funk to historic Engel Stadium for the second annual American Dream Concert. The event raised more than $6,000 for the Engel Foundation and the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s College of Business.
The event was held in conjunction with the Chattanooga Area Veterans Armed Forces Day Parade. UTC alumnus General B.B. Bell was the grand marshal for the parade and spoke at the American Dream Concert.
The money raised will pay admission for two veterans into the VEP. The VEP is an entrepreneurial “boot camp” targeting disabled and service distinguished veterans. Designed to teach the “nuts and bolts” of start-up and growth ventures, The program’s curriculum includes a five-week online course to further develop business concepts, followed by an 8-day, on-campus boot camp that covers everything from cash flow management and marketing tools to legal and HR issues, all provided at no cost to participants.
According to Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean of UTC’s College of Business, who modeled Chattanooga’s VEP after a similar program at Oklahoma State University, 20 veterans have been accepted into the program this year from as far away as Washington. Many are returning vets from Afghanistan or Iraq and all have strong ideas and a passion for starting or expanding their own business.
“VEP fits well into our college’s mission of engaging and supporting the community. It’s part of our outreach initiative as a metropolitan state university. Veterans have a higher unemployment rate than the civil population. We want to help those with an entrepreneurial drive provide for themselves and their families,” Dooley said.
The next session of the VEP will begin in July.