New Statewide Initiative Offers Accelerated Entrepreneurship Education to Veterans at No Cost
FSBDCN State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, a new statewide initiative that offers qualified veterans the opportunity to receive an accelerated entrepreneurship education at no cost, is now accepting applications. The pilot program will begin its first phase in March.
The program is available to veterans who meet the following requirements: have been honorably discharged, are National Guardsmen or Reservists, or are active duty within one year of separation; reside in Florida, and demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship.
The program will be delivered over three phases. The first phase consists of an eight-week online class to help participants build their venture on a strong business foundation. The second phase consists of six days of on-site training at one of the five participating institutions of higher education. This phase will be held on three consecutive weekends and all travel expenses will be covered for participants. The final phase of the program consists of six-months of ongoing mentorship with Florida SBDC Network business consultants.
“The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program provides veterans an opportunity to gain a high-quality entrepreneurship education at no cost,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. “Our goal is to help our state’s veterans navigate the path towards entrepreneurship to fulfill their passions and create jobs and wealth for Florida’s economy.”
The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is funded through a $1 million appropriation by the Florida Legislature. In December, Veterans Florida, a non-profit created by the Florida Legislature to attract and retain veterans, selected the University of West Florida, through its Florida SBDC Network and Military Veterans Resource Center, to administer the program. The University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University, and Hillsborough Community College will serve as network partners of the program. In this role, each institution will dedicate existing small business development resources to deliver the program.
“Veterans possess many of the skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Bobby Carbonell, Executive Director of Veterans Florida. “The technical and financial skills provided from this program, along with the motivation, confidence, attention to detail and problem solving skills they bring, will ensure veterans achieve their vision of the American Dream, owning their own business.”
Space is limited. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2016. For more information, and to apply, please visit www.FloridaVetBiz.org.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016. Since its inception, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. In 2014, the initiatives of the Florida SBDC Network resulted in 42,664 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $140.2 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 952 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.
About Veterans Florida:
Veterans Florida was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014 as part of the Florida GI Bill to serve as an innovative corporation to encourage recently retired or separated military personnel to make Florida their permanent residence. The 501c(3) corporation will reinforce Florida’s standing as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation by helping veterans to bring or develop the skills needed by Florida businesses to the state. The board of directors is comprised of nine individuals from across the state. For more information, visit www.veteransflorida.org.