This summer, UTC College of Business will offer cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to our nation’s disabled and “service distinguished” veterans, through the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP).

The creation of the VEP at UTC is a direct response to the unique challenges of service disabled veterans. For veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the unemployment rate is 11.1%, two and a half points higher than the overall unemployment rate. About 30%, conservatively, will live out the rest of their lives with an enduring physical or psychological disability. For many of them, what is described as traditional employment, the 9-to-5 job, may be a challenge.

UTC’s nationally ranked College of Business is partnering with Oklahoma State University’s School of Entrepreneurship to deliver a first class experience for every veteran. The goal of the program is to foster the creation of successful, profitable business ventures among disabled veterans and to advance the growth and commercial competitiveness of local and regional veteran-owned enterprises through an intensive education, training, and mentoring program.

“This program will provide a much needed service to veterans in our community and region, and represents the best of what we are about as an academic institution in serving the public good,” states Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean, UTC College of Business.

By May, 2012, 30 veterans will be chosen to participate, free of charge, in the VEP.  The program begins with a month-long self-study program to further develop business concepts.  From July 21-29, 2012,  VEP delegates will arrive on the UTC campus for an intensive 8-day, hands-on boot camp focused on all aspects of business growth and development, from cash flow management to guerilla marketing.

The boot camp will be followed by 10 months of mentoring and support by UTC faculty and local business volunteers. VEP graduates will have the tools and follow-up support to create and grow ventures that provide for themselves and their families as well as create jobs that will enhance the local economy.  There is no charge to participants for any aspect of the program, including transportation, food and lodging.

The program will feature B.B. Bell, Four-Star General U.S. Army (Retired) and UTC Distinguished Alumnus as one of the guest speakers.  Dr. Mike Morris, director of Oklahoma State University’s School of Entrepreneurship will serve as lead faculty for the program, along with Dr. Steve White, UTC College of Business.

“By expanding the VEP model to UTC and the southeast,” states Morris, “we can serve more veterans, connect veteran entrepreneurs to one another, and walk with them as they create their own ventures.

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored in part by Co-Lab and the UTC Probasco Chair as well as individual donors and promotional partners such as the Tennessee Veterans Business Association ( ).

Applications are now being accepted through April 27, 2012.

To apply, visit:


For more information on the program and how to be a sponsor for the VEP:

Email:; call Sandra Cordell at 423-425-4417; or email


The College of Business at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a nationally ranked business school providing educational programs that produce academically prepared and business-world ready graduates for a competitive global environment. The College of Business has been AACSB internationally accredited since 1982 and is ranked as one of the top business schools nationwide by both Bloomberg Businessweek and the Princeton Review, educating over 2,250 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
Tagged with: