Vet-trepreneurs Welcome


Matt Edison

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


UND Center for Innovation program seeks to empower former service members who have an eye for business.

The University of North Dakota’s Center for Innovation Foundation and the School of Entrepreneurship at UND has been named the fourth site for the national Veterans Entrepreneur Program (VEP).

The designation comes in partnership with three other top entrepreneurship programs at Oklahoma State, University of Florida and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Foundation is currently accepting application for its 2016 program, which is free of charge to disabled veterans.

On Aug. 22, a pilot program striving to assist veterans in creating and running their own businesses will kick off at the UND Center for Innovation.

“VEP is a rigorous and transformative entrepreneurship program that helps our veterans who have paid such a price for our freedom pursue their dreams of owning a business,” said Bruce Gjovig, CEO of the Center for Innovation Foundation. “We have raised donations to cover all costs and feature our best entrepreneurship faculty and successful entrepreneurs. For those veterans with a real passion to start or grow a venture, VEP is the boost they need.”

VEP will begin with a five-week online course, including online discussions and assessment moderated by entrepreneurship faculty. The veterans involved with the program will develop business concepts and begin preparing for the second phase of the training course.

“VEP Boot Camp is scheduled for Oct. 22-29 in the Center for Innovation’s entrepreneur center,” said Tyler Okerlund, VEP director. “The boot camp will consist of a week of hands-on learning and face-to-face interaction between the veterans, faculty, guest entrepreneurs and business experts. Nationally ranked entrepreneurship program faculty from around the country will be in attendance to give vets an inside look at how a start-up business really works.”

Mentoring and venture development, the third and final phase of VEP, includes eight months of ongoing mentorship and online networking. The phase is designed to give the vets feedback to concerns specific to their ventures.