What is VEP you ask? We’ll give you a little basic training: VEP stands for Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, and UTC’s program is now in its fifth year! VEP places select veterans into an accelerated hybrid-learning program using online education, a classroom style “boot camp”, and a comprehensive mentorship and follow-through phase supported by successful Chattanooga business professionals. VEP is perfectly positioned for ambitious veteran entrepreneurs to thrive. Participants gain the advantage of having both a world-class university and world-class entrepreneurs to help guide them to success.
“I came in thinking I knew a lot, but working with the faculty in the VEP taught me how to start and run a business with an emphasis on marketing, sales, how to pitch a project, and the [business] market. They outlined everything you need for a successful business. I believe I’ve gained the leadership and ability to move my business forward.” -Glen Shackley, 2014 VEP Graduate.
Of course you have questions… Let’s cover a few!
Do I need to have a college degree, or have taken some college courses, to attend? No! The VEP is designed to take any qualified veteran, regardless of prior educational experience, through the steps and stages of starting a new business.
Are members of the National Guard and Reserves eligible for the program? Yes! To be eligible, candidates must have served on active duty and received a DD214, have passion for small business ownership, and can commit to the eight-day residency that takes place on the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga campus in July.
Will UTC assume all program costs, including travel and lodging? Yes! We have assumed the responsibility to raise the necessary funds to cover all costs associated with the program. Travel expenses, lodging, meals, and the cost of the program itself will be funded by the VEP.
Who is eligible for the program? Applications to the VEP will be accepted from candidates who:
- Have been Honorably Discharged from active duty (or are currently in the administrative process of separating).
- Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership or management.
- Preference is given to applicants who are identified as disabled by the Veterans Administration based on a “service-connected” disability.
To learn more about the UTC VEP, or to apply for the program, visit www.utc.edu/vep.