The Lutgert College of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship received a $40,000 grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to support the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program (VFEP). FGCU is the Southwest Florida chapter host of the program, which will begin its second round in January 2017.
The money will be distributed to the top four to eight business plans developed in the program, and veterans can use the funds to launch their ventures. A network of FGCU faculty, staff and mentors will judge the plans.
“The Institute for Entrepreneurship is delighted that the Schulze Family Foundation has selected them as a recipient of their grant,” said Institute Director Sandra Kauanui. “This will help the next generation of U.S. entrepreneurs experience better chances of success.”
The VFEP is a tuition-free hybrid course offered to all veterans in Florida interested in starting a business. The 15-week course gives instruction in the nationally recognized Lean Startup method. FGCU and the Institute for Entrepreneurship is a partner in the program, alongside the University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Hillsborough Community College and Florida Atlantic University. FGCU faculty and staff and mentors from the local community facilitate and assist each veteran in starting, growing or revamping their businesses. Veterans’ business ideas can include products, services or nonprofit sector. Registration will be open soon.
Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and the Institute for Entrepreneurship provides FGCU students with support and a strong foundation of knowledge from which to pursue entrepreneurial businesses. This is accomplished through the combined efforts of FGCU faculty, alumni and a variety of community partners in Southwest Florida.
The Schulze Family Foundation was founded in 2004 by Best Buy founder Richard M Schulze as a way to give back to the community. Schulze and his family believe that a good education, a supportive family and a strong work ethic prepare children for a successful future. To support that belief, the foundation provides funding to education and human services, among other types of organizations.