Business boot camp helps turn veterans into entrepreneurs

By Greg Duck Posted: August 28, 2018 10:00 a.m.

The business boot camp ran from Aug. 20 - 26 at the University of Regina, and helped to further the business plans of Armed Forces veterans.
The business boot camp ran from Aug. 20 - 26 at the University of Regina, and helped to further the business plans of Armed Forces veterans. Photo courtesy Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur Facebook.

Twenty members of the Canadian Armed Forces from across Canada took part in the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur (POE) week-long business boot camp. Held at the University of Regina’s Paul J. Hill School of Business, and managed by student group Enactus Regina, the program helps transitioning members of the military to start their own businesses. The University of Regina is the only university west of Quebec offering this concentrated business camp.

On a volunteer basis, professors from the University provided industry knowledge and business expertise through teaching sessions including lessons in finance, marketing, human resources, and management. Student volunteers were paired with participants and provided one-on-one guidance to help them craft their business plans. Local entrepreneurs were also on hand to share their experiences at networking events throughout the week.

Now in its sixth year, the program has continued to grow with an outpouring of support from the University and community.

“This was our most successful program yet, with student and community volunteer numbers at an all-time high and fundraising goals met,” says Lee Elliott, local entrepreneur, business lecturer, and volunteer coordinator of the University of Regina program.

More than 40 student volunteers from Enactus, Hill JDC West, and Hill Business Students’ Society programs volunteered their time to help out with the program. Community and University support was also lent by Conexus Credit Union, Business Dean Gina Grandy, President Vianne Timmons, Senator Pamela Wallin, and Lieutenant Governor Thomas Molloy.

Since 2012, approximately 200 businesses have been started by graduates of the POE, many by the University of Regina’s more than 100 program graduates. At a pivotal time in the lives of veterans, this program provides the opportunity for those wishing to launch their own entrepreneurial endeavors to learn the necessary skills.

About Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur:
Prince's Operation Entrepreneur is a program of Prince’s Charities Canada. It combines three of HRH The Prince of Wales’ lifelong interests of encouraging entrepreneurship, support for the Canadian Armed Forces and youth.