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Institute for Entrepreneurship

Institute for Entrepreneurship

Veterans Florida


Veterans Group

Veterans Florida Entreprenuership Program 2017/2018 

Get Help Starting Your Veteran-Owned Business!

Nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans want to open and operate their own business. Opportunity, freedom and solving problems attract them to the challenge of owning a business. Are you one of them?

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers you tuition-free, online and on-campus instruction in the nationally-recognized Lean Startup Method. Designed to work around your busy schedule, the program provides you instruction at one of network our partners’ campuses, access to local resources such as business leaders and mentors, and much more. Check out this video we put together after our successful spring 2017 program!

VFEP Spring 2017

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program provides Veterans at FGCU and 5 other university/college partners who want to start a business, with an in-depth program based on the Lean Startup Method, to take them from idea, to writing a plan and implementation, to finally starting their business. The program offers qualified Veterans three learning pathways in entrepreneurship and includes a year round self paced online program, in-person open enrollment workshops in the Fall, and the advanced program offered in the Spring for fifteen weeks.  The advanced program has limited slots.  So, apply today

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is free to Veterans who have been honorably discharged, active guard/reserve, active duty within one year of separation, and reside in Florida. 

While applications for the 2018 program are not yet open, IFE will begin VFEP Workshops this fall! To sign up for the 2017/2018 waitlist and for more details, visit

Compassionate Shark Tank Competition

Veterans Group photoEach year the IFE has received donations to host a competition where the top Veteran businesses win seed funding to jump start their businesses!

In 2016, the IFE provided the top two Veterans a total of $15,000, donated by the SWFL Community Foundation, and awarded $70,000 to qualifying Veterans from an external community donor.

In 2017, the Institute awarded 11 Veterans $65,000 in funding, which was contributed by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the SWFL Community Foundation and a community donor. The community donor plans to award an additional $20,000 before the 2017 year end. 

The IFE has raised from donors and given away $170,000 in seed funding since the start of the program!

Veterans Program Audience Vets Program Couple


During the inaugural year in 2016, 33 veterans completed the program. 35 veterans graduated from FGCU’s 2017 VFEP. Over 20 veteran-owned businesses have been started in the SWFL region after the inaugural session of the program!

The most successful veteran from the 2016 class is Steven Berge, whose business has generated over $1.5 million in government contracts. Keith Basik also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign by raising over $15,000 in funds through crowdsourcing.

Including Steven and Keith, over half of the veterans that took part in FGCU VFEP’s inaugural class are generating self-sustaining revenue. 

Support Flip Towel

Created by inventor and Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program graduate Keith Basik!

The Flip Towel is a unique product, combining a sweatband with a high-quality micro-fiber towel to give the active person a quick and convenient way to wipe the sweat from many areas of their body, without the hassle of carrying a towel, using their hands or T-Shirt, or interrupting their activity.

 Click on the photo for more information about Flip Towel!


Thanks to our community partners: The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Schoen Foundation!

Schulz foundation  Logo