Representatives of TVFCU, the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, and UTC VEP program mentors stand with loan recipient Jim Derry (center).

Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union announced the first Idea Leap loan candidate from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) closed on their loan on Tuesday, March 19.

Jim Derry, a National Guard and law enforcement veteran, will use the Idea Leap Loan to support marketing his company, Derry Software, which helps provide local governments tools to use their information better.

“Jim is an example of the type of candidates in this program who have a dream and desire to be an entrepreneur and start their own business,” said Robert Dooley, Dean of the Gary W. Rollins College of Business. “We don’t want to be just a degree program at UTC, but we’re eager to also engage with the business community and entrepreneurs to help them be successful.”

Jim’s military career spanned three decades and included service in the U.S. Army and TN Army National Guard. He was a Field Artilleryman throughout his career, which included over ten years of service each in the Army, active duty in the National Guard, and as a traditional Guardsman. He deployed with the 101st Airborne Division to Operation Desert Storm, and with the 1st Battalion, 181st Field Artillery in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Jim retired from the military in 2012 and has been managing information systems since then. He has learned there are sometimes gaps between the solutions that are provided to customers and what could be provided to them. Jim wants to close these gaps. His vision is to provide customized information systems to meet the specific needs of the customer.

To view more coverage on this story, visit the links below:

Chattanooga Times Free Press

WDEF News Channel 12

About the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at UTC: Now in its eighth year, the VEP offers a highly innovative immersion program built around hands-on learning, personalized interaction, and exposure to inspiring role models. The VEP’s mission is to foster the creation of successful, profitable ventures owned by veterans. The VEP is free to veterans who are selected for the program. Applications for the 2019 program are now being accepted. To learn more, visit 

About Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union: Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU), a not-for-profit financial cooperative, was established in 1936 when 57 Chattanooga TVA employees pooled $500 to create the member-owned credit union. Today, TVFCU serves more than 142,500 members who live, work, worship, volunteer and attend school throughout the 13-county service community. With more than $1.4 billion in assets and 18 branches throughout the area, TVFCU is the largest credit union in the region. For more information about TVFCU, please visit 

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