UIC to offer entrepreneurship program for veterans

American flagThe University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration today announced a new university-based entrepreneurship program to support veterans returning to the Chicago area who want to lead new or existing business ventures.

A pilot program will be run in spring 2014, and the free, non-degree, certificate program, called Veterans2Ventures, will launch next fall.

“While there are many resources available to returning veterans, there is no university-based entrepreneurship program serving Chicago today that combines the academic foundation, immersive campus and community experience, and the sustained engagement and mentoring that we can offer at UIC,” said Michael Mikhail, dean of the UIC College of Business Administration.

“Our entrepreneurship faculty and team at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies collaborated to create a unique program that brings together the diverse resources of our Chicago campus and the surrounding entrepreneur community to serve veterans.”

Veterans interested in the Veterans2Ventures program can learn more at business.uic.edu/v2v

Veterans2Ventures offers an opportunity “to learn from the best, get experienced advice while launching their business, and participate in a supportive student and alumni community,” said Maija Renko, associate professor of entrepreneurship and the program’s faculty adviser.

Working with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the UIC business faculty “saw firsthand the need for a more comprehensive program for the veterans who bring entrepreneurial passion, leadership skills honed in the military, and an appetite to accomplish something significant in their community,” said Denise Ching, director of Illinois Small Business Development at UIC, the community outreach arm of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Rodrigo Garcia, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a UIC business graduate, said the UIC program complements initiatives at the state agency.

Mikhail said Veterans2Ventures will be a valuable addition to the educational and support services already offered by UIC and the UIC Office of Student Veterans Affairs.

“We look forward to working with veteran associations as well as Chicago business and civic leaders to make this program a real asset for veterans and the communities to which they return,” he said.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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