Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

From Service to Startup

A tuition-free military veteran entrepreneurship training program that provides equity-free funding directly to veteran-owned businesses.

Celebrating Excellence in Fostering the Entrepreneurial Mindset Across the Community

We are thrilled to announce that our accelerator/incubator program has been honored with the prestigious USASBE Model Community Entrepreneurship Accelerator/Incubator Award. This accolade is a testament to our unwavering commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and fostering innovation within our local veteran community.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to our veteran entrepreneurs, partners, and program supporters. This award is not just a recognition of our program but a celebration of our collective achievements and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us forward.

2024 USASBE Model Community Accelerator/Incubator Award

Over 130

veteran-owned businesses started

Over $38M

generated by veteran businesses

Over $490K

in grants awarded to participants

Programs for Each Stage of Business

Designed to work around your busy schedule, the program provides you instruction from our nationally ranked entrepreneurial staff and faculty, access to local resources such as business leaders and mentors, and an opportunity to join the local veteran entrepreneur community.

Programs are cohort-based, which means you will get to enjoy expanding your own network with other veteran entrepreneurs. With full completion of the program, you can pitch for equity-free funding to either start a new business or grow your existing business.

Which Program is Right for You?

Loki Anthony working with Mentor Troy Bolivar in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Startup Program

Start-up Program

The Start-up Programs will be 12-weeks, and veterans will attend sessions each Monday and Wednesday evening for the duration of the program. The entrepreneurship skill training sessions will be fully interactive and tailored to meet the needs of the current cohort based on the level of their start-ups as well as their industries. The program will primarily focus on application of the skills learned to the veteran's individual business, and hands-on mentorship.

February – May

September – December

Monday and Wednesday Evenings

This program is ideal for entrepreneurs early in their business development or just starting out. This program is taught by FGCU Faculty as well as community members who are experts in their field. We also provide mentors from the community to help you in your journey. Topics of the program include:

  • Customer Development
  • Market Research
  • Managing Revenue, Expenses, and Cash Flow
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Business Models & Revenue Streams
  • Legal Issues
  • Pitching & Financial Projections

REGISTEr: startup program

Derrick Aguilar Marine Corp Veteran Participant of the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Growth Program and Owner of American veteran Welding

Growth Program

The Growth Program will follow a similar structure; however, it will be condensed into an intensive 8-week period, and will be focused on later stage start-ups and established businesses seeking to optimize or grow. Veterans will attend sessions each Monday and Thursday evening for the duration of the program. The program will primarily focus on running lean experiments to the business’s current customer factory model.

May – June

Monday and Thursday Evenings

This program is ideal for entrepreneurs who have existing businesses with some revenue and who are looking to grow their existing business. This program is taught by FGCU Faculty as well as community members who are experts in their field. Topics of the program include:

  • Customer Acquisition, Retention & Referrals
  • Business Model Experiments
  • Validated Learning for Scaling Business
  • Business Infrastructure
  • Accessing Capital
  • Pitching & Financial Projections

REGISTER: growth program

Meet Our Eagle Vetrepreneurs

These U.S. Military Veterans that have turned their dreams into a reality.

Lia Coronado US Army Veteran Owner of Contempo Dance

Lia Coronado, Army

Lia is an Army veteran and the owner of Contempo Dance Club, which is dedicated to boosting the confidence of women through fun, easy-to-follow dance routines. Contempo has continued to expand their community within Naples and SWFL, inspiring women of all ages to express themselves through dance.

lia's business
Derrick Aguilar US Marine Corps Veteran and Owner of American Veteran Welding

Derrick Aguilar, Marine Corps

Derrick is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who started American Veteran Welding, which provides Southwest Florida with certified mobile welding and fabrication services. Specializes in heavy equipment repairs and brings welding capabilities onsite.

derrick's business
Andrew Morris US Army Veteran and Owner of Turtle Pads

Andrew Morris, Army

Andrew Morris is a U.S. Army veteran, percussion teacher and founder of Turtle Pads, a company that integrates drumming practice pads into a backpack to give percussionists quick access to everything they need to be successful on the go.

andrew's business

Interested in Helping Veterans?

Contact our School of Entrepreneurship Director, Dr. Sandra Kauanui, at 239-745-4040.

Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Logo and 2019 Fall Cohort

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is funded in part by Veterans Florida. Florida Gulf Coast University's Institute for Entrepreneurship has been hosting the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program since spring 2016 and has been successful in assisting veteran start-ups and facilitating programs that help veteran entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.