At the heart of the VEP is an intense, eight-day immersion experience at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It will cover topical modules comprising the critical areas of success for new and early stage ventures. These eight days are preceded by a five-week self-study component and are then followed by a five-month advising period and online peer-to-peer networking. This integrated model, a three-phase program covering the key elements of successful entrepreneurship, offers an innovative and effective combination of focused, practical training in venture creation and growth, accompanied by a support structure for graduates of the program.
Applications open on November 11, 2020, and close on April 30, 2021. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by May 7, 2021.
VEP Phase I: Concept Development and Self Study
May 24 - June 27, 2021
Over the initial five-week period, delegates will participate in a self-study curriculum developed for the VEP, facilitated by an online discussion and assessment module that will be moderated by entrepreneurship faculty from the Rollins College of Business. This phase enables delegates to work on the further development of their business concepts and prepare for the Boot Camp to be held a the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus in July. Those with existing businesses will work on understanding and shaping relevant business issues. Participants also receive 12 months of free access to LivePlan, an online business plan software that takes users through a step-bystep process to create a bank-ready business plan.
VEP Phase II: Boot Camp
July 17-24, 2021
Like a military boot camp, this eight-day residency in Chattanooga, Tenn., 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 faculty representing nationally ranked programs around the country.
VEP Phase III: Advisement and Venture Development
August - December 2021
Delegates are provided with ongoing advising from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts and online peer-to-peer networking. This phase of the VEP enables delegates to get feedback specific to their ventures and offers extended hands-on learning, which is critical to success. In collaboration with Tennessee Valley Credit Union, eligible VEP graduates have access to the Idea Leap loan program.
VEP serves veterans who meet the following requirements:
- Have separated from active duty service (or are in the process of separating) with an honorable discharge
- Have developed a business concept or have an existing business less than three years old
- Preference will be given to applicants who are identified as disabled by the Veterans Administration based on a "service-connected" disability OR are "service-distinguished" based on exemplary military conduct
The VEP is free to veterans who are selected for the program. Instruction, materials, travel expenses, lodging, and meals for the Phase II Boot Camp will be provided at no cost to each delegate. The costs of the VEP are underwritten by sponsors and private donors, including our presenting sponsor, Walden Security.
Travel and Lodging
*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, Tenn.
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 Rollins College of Business on the UTC campus.