UTC is partnering with Oklahoma State’s School of Entrepreneurship in the delivery and development of this successful program, a series of training modules designed by UTC and OSU faculty and successful entrepreneurs to provide participating veterans with the nuts and bolts of small business start-up and leadership.
The VEP program is offered entirely free to qualified, disabled veterans who have been accepted into the program. This year, the program will engage 16 veteran delegates in its eight-day boot camp and 10-month mentoring program.
The opening ceremony of the VEP boot camp will feature The Vietnam Veterans color guard and speakers RADM Noah H. Long, Jr., Civil Engineer Corps, United States Navy (Retired) and Thomas Leney from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The event will be held at the Sheraton Read House on Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Additional highlights of the VEP boot camp include:
July 22-23: Dr. Mike Morris, Director of OSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, will teach several sessions in the first few days of the boot camp. Dr. Morris's sessions include: Sunday, July 22: How Entrepreneurs Think, Fletcher 212 at UTC, 10:15-noon; Monday, July 23: Further Understanding Your Customers, Fletcher 212 at UTC, 10:15-noon; and also on Monday, July 23: Leveraging Resources, Mitigating Risk, and Guerrilla Action, Fletcher 212 at UTC, 1-2:45 p.m.
July 26: VEP delegates will visit and engage in a session at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, 100 Cherokee Boulevard, Suite 202, from 1-2:45 p.m. They will tour the facility and hear from several small business owners in the building, including RMJ Tactical, which produces specialized tomahawks for military tactical teams.
July 27: Trident Leadership session at Chickamauga Battlefield, 8:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
July 28: Participants will pitch their business ideas in sessions at CO.LAB (The Company Lab), 55 East Main Street, from 8:15-10 a.m. and receive feedback on their pitches from 10:15 a.m.-noon.
July 29: Graduation ceremony at Renaissance Commons, River Room, Bluff View Art District will feature B. B. Bell, General, US Army (Retired) as well as a video retrospective of the week. This event begins at 6:30 p.m.
The VEP has been entirely underwritten by private and grant funding, so that veterans may attend at no charge. Donors include:
Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga
The Company Lab
Disabled American Veterans
Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise at UTC
The Raines Group
Southern Towing Company
US XPress Enterprises
In-kind sponsors include:
Sticky Fingers, Taziki’s, Taco Mamacita, Food Works, The Terminal Brewhouse, GollyWhoppers, Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling, Co., Sheraton Read House
For more information: Kristina-Montague@utc.edu, 423 425-2688 or Chuck-Cantrell@utc.edu, 423 425-4363