As the only community college selected to participate in the program, HCC, along with the University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Florida Atlantic University were selected as network partners of the program. In this role, each institution will dedicate existing small business development resources to deliver the program, which is comprised of three phases:
- Phase 1: An online entrepreneurial development training covering the basics of entrepreneurship
- Phase 2: In-class training at one of the five participating institutions of higher education during which veterans will receive face-to-face instruction from business experts and refine their business concepts and plans
- Phase 3: Ongoing mentorship and follow-up support from Florida SBDC business consultants to help veterans launch and run their business
The program is available to veterans who are active duty or have been honorably discharged; reside in Florida, or plan to locate to Florida; and demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship. The program is provided at no cost. Travel expenses, including lodging and meals, for the on-site training will be covered for all participants.
“We are pleased to build upon the programs that we currently offer to the thousands of veterans we serve each through the Veterans Florida Program at HCC,” said Dr. Ken Atwater, HCC president. “Entrepreneurs fuel our growing economy and this program will help our service men and women get equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in the global marketplace."
The funding for the program is made available through a $1 million appropriation by the Florida Legislature. The University of West Florida, through its Florida SBDC Network and Military and Veterans Resource Center, will serve as the host partner to administer the program. The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at HCC will be administered through the college’s Institute for Corporate and Continuing Training.
“The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers veterans in the state access to high value, entrepreneurship education through our world-class state universities and colleges,” said Bobby Carbonell, Executive Director of Veterans Florida. “This education will empower the next generation of great veteran entrepreneurs to make lasting contributions to the state’s economy.”
Space is limited. The expected launch of the program website (www.FloridaVetBiz.org) is early February 2016, at which time the application will be available. For more information, please contact (850) 898-3489 or info@FloridaVetBiz.org.
Hillsborough Community College serves more than 45,000 students annually at campuses on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa and in Brandon, Plant City, Ruskin and Ybor City. Hillsborough Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For more information, please visit hccfl.edu.