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Seven-day boot camps help veterans start businesses - Prince's Trust Canada

Between May and August 2019, 77 transitioning Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans received a week-long business training course through Prince’s Trust Canada’s Operation Entrepreneur program.

Held on university campuses, the participants arrived to boot camp with a developed business idea and learned best practices in marketing, finance, business planning and accounting from business school faculty. They participated in mentoring forums with local entrepreneurs, received one-on-one coaching and worked on a plan to take their business to the next level.

Brad Locke from Pierceland, Saskatchewan, served 20 years in the Canadian military before attending the boot camp at the University of Regina this August. “I do not think there is anywhere else I could have received the amount of information, the connections, the comradery, and overall positivity,” said Locke. “The largest endorsement I can give is this. As a veteran who has been diagnosed and struggling with PTSD, I went into this program not liking people very much, I left liking people again, for me that is a huge step in my healing journey, and that was a by-product of the overall experience.”

Since its inception in 2012, the Operation Entrepreneur program has been supporting veterans and their families through the transition to civilian life. More than 500 veterans have attended the week-long boot camp resulting in the creation of more than 370 veteran-owned businesses across Canada.

Each boot camp engages the local business community and relies on invaluable support from student and faculty volunteers. The four boot camps were held at Laval University, Dalhousie University, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Regina.

If you would like to get involved in the Operation Entrepreneur program, a new mentoring component was launched earlier in 2019 that matches successful entrepreneurs and business professionals with graduates of the boot camp. We are actively recruiting mentors willing to share their expertise and knowledge to help a budding entrepreneur reach their personal and professional goals. Find out more about the mentoring program