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University of TN Chattanooga

Veterans Entrepreneurship Program

Building entrepreneurially prepared, business-world ready veterans.

While our military veterans serve and protect our nation, they also acquire knowledge and skills. Those skills include risk management, performance under pressure, and leadership essential to business relations.To translate these skills to the civilian world and build entrepreneurially prepared, business-world ready veterans, UTC is part of the nationally acclaimed Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP).

Now in its fourth year, the VEP places select veterans into an accelerated hybrid-learning program using online education, a classroom style “boot camp,” and a comprehensive mentorship and follow-through phase supported by successful Chattanooga business professionals.

As an emerging global entrepreneurial hub, steeped in history, and on the cutting edge of entrepreneurial practice and education, UTC and the city of Chattanooga provide an ideal venue for the program. VEP is perfectly positioned for ambitious veteran entrepreneurs to thrive. Participants gain the advantage of having both a world-class university and world-class entrepreneurs to help guide them to success.

“I came in thinking I knew a lot, but working with the faculty in the VEP taught me how to start and run a business with an emphasis on marketing, sales, how to pitch a project, and the (business) market. They outlined everything you need for a successful business. I believe I’ve gained the leadership and ability to move my business forward.”

— Glen Shackley, 2014 VEP Graduate


VEP Phase I: Concept Development & Self Study
May 21 – June 25, 2018

During this initial five week period, selected delegates will participate in a self-study curriculum developed by UTC College of Business. This will include reading materials and an online assessment module moderated by our entrepreneurship faculty. This phase will enable delegates to work on the further development of their business concepts and prepare for the on-campus boot camp experience in July 2018. Those with existing businesses will work on understanding and shaping relevant business issues.

VEP Phase II: VEP Boot Camp
July 21-29, 2018

Like a military boot camp, this eight-day residency at the UTC Campus in Chattanooga, TN is intense, rigorous and demanding. It is an opportunity for hands-on learning and interaction with faculty, guest entrepreneurs, business experts and peer delegates. The boot camp exposes VEP participants to the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership through experiential workshops and lessons from world-class entrepreneurship faculty representing nationally ranked programs around the country.

VEP Phase III: Mentoring & Venture Development
August 2018 – May 2019

Delegates are provided with 10 months of ongoing mentorship from entrepreneurship experts at the UTC College of Business and online peer-to-peer networking. This phase of the VEP will enable delegates to get specific feedback regarding their ventures, provides access to professionals who can answer specific technical questions and offers extended hands-on support.



Applications to the VEP will be accepted from candidates who:

  • Have been Honorably Discharged from active duty (or are currently in the administrative process of separating).
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership or management.
  • Preference is given to applicants who are identified as disabled by the Veterans Administration based on a “service-connected” disability
  • Ideal VEP applicants should have a business concept in mind or have an existing business in a growth stage prior to the program. For those who have not yet launched a business, the program is designed to take your concept and help walk you through the creation of a business plan and beyond. The VEP is not designed to help you develop the initial business concept.



VEP is free to eligible veterans who are selected for the program. Travel expenses, lodging, and meals for the Phase II “boot camp” are provided at no cost to each veteran. VEP costs are underwritten by sponsors and private donors, with operations and program development provided by the UTC College of Business.

All travel, hotel accommodations, meals, materials, and instructional costs will be covered for veterans participating in the UTC Veterans Entrepreneurship Program.


*Participants must stay in the lodging provided by the UTC VEP throughout “boot camp” for program completion.*

The UTC VEP will be held on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus in Chattanooga, TN.

Lodging will be pre-arranged in a downtown Chattanooga hotel. Selected veterans do not need to worry about making hotel reservations.

Selected participants traveling by air or bus will be picked up and taken to the hotel. Parking will be available at the hotel for those driving to Chattanooga. A car will not be necessary during the program itself, as all transportation to/from the venues will be provided.

All sessions of the actual program will be held in Fletcher Hall, which houses the College of Business on the UTC campus.

To learn more about enrollment in the program and about the structure of the course please visit About the VEP

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