Veterans Florida Selects Four Universities To Participate In An Innovative Statewide Enterprise Program For Veterans

Funded Through A $1 Million Appropriation From The State Legislature

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Veterans Florida Executive Director, Bobby Carbonell, today announced the selection of four Florida state universities that will develop and teach an innovative three-part entrepreneurship program for veterans seeking to start their own business.

“The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers veterans in the state access to high value,entrepreneurship education through our world-class state universities,” said Carbonell. “This education will empower the next generation of great veteran entrepreneurs to make lasting contributions to the state’s economy.

Full details about the program will be made available on January 1, 2016 on the Veterans Florida website (www.VETERANSFLORIDA.ORG) and recruitment of veteran students will begin at that time. Each university will offer the same curriculum and dedicate existing small business development resources to the program, which is composed of three phases:

Phase I: An online phase teaching the basics of entrepreneurship

Phase II: A one week in-residence program at one of the participating universities during which veterans receive face-to-face instruction from business experts and refine their business concepts and plans.

Phase III: One year of mentorship and follow-up support to help the veterans launch and run their business.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the host partner for the Florida VETS Entrepreneurship Program,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. “The Florida SBDC Network and UWF are committed to serving the men and women who serve our country and are privileged to offer entrepreneurial training in their support . According to the U.S. SBA, veterans are 45 percent more likely to start a business. Though military service is excellent preparation for entrepreneurship, business ownership often still proves challenging. Our goal is to ensure our state’s servicemen and women have the necessary training and resources for their businesses to succeed.”

About the participating universities:

The University of West Florida, founded in 1963, is a vibrant, distinctive institute of higher learning with undergraduate, graduate and targeted research programs. As a public university based in Pensacola, FL with multiple instructional sites and a strong virtual presence, the University serves a student population of more than 12,000. Of this student population, 25 percent are considered to be those who are active duty, veterans, and dependents (spouse or children) of servicemembers. The University of West Florida will serve as the host partner for the FLVETS Entrepreneur Program alongside their Military and Veterans Resource Center and Small Business Development Center.

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 in Boca Raton, FL as the first public university in southeast Florida. The University serves more than 30,000 freshmen, transfers and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region. Florida Atlantic University has a long-standing commitment to student veterans beginning with its establishment as a radar training school operated by the U.S. Army Air Corps in the early 1960s and for five consecutive years, FAU has achieved Military Friendly® Schools status.

Florida Gulf Coast University, located in Fort Myers, FL, was established in 1991 and broke grounds for their campus in 1995. As a younger state university, they are proud to serve over 15,000 students in providing robust, innovative, and community-driven programs to the region and state. FGCU has partnered their Institution for Entrepreneurship with the regional Florida Small Business Development Center located on their campus to serve as a network partner for the FLVETS Entrepreneur Program.

The University of North Florida, serving over 16,000 students, was established in 1973 in Jacksonville, FL. The university is located between the city of Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by beautiful lakes and nature trails and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratios with an emphasis on undergraduate research. The University’s Military and Veterans Resource Center, Coggin College of Business, and Small Business Development Center has joined together to serve as a network partner for the FLVETS Entrepreneur Program.

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.