Granting veterans knowledge in entrepreneurship

Russel Melville, director of Veterans and Military Affairs congratulates Jorge Ditren, a National Guard veteran, upon his completion of Rider’s first class of the Veterans Entrepreneurial Training program in August 2014.

By Stephen Appelblatt
Veterans hoping to register for Rider’s free classes on start-up business can continue to do so, following $55,000 in grants given to allow for continuation of the program.
Grand Bank, N.A., of Hamilton, New Jersey, which previously donated $50,000 in 2014, contributed an additional $50,000 this year for Veteran Entrepreneurial Training (VET). New Jersey Bankers Education Fund, Inc. also provided a $5,000 grant toward the program.
The grants come after the first year of the VET program, which Dr. Ron Cook, director of the Rider Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Small Business Institute, called a success. He cited the mentoring aspect of the classes as a big reason for this.
“The classroom meetings provided the ability to develop relationships with the vets and ability to provide direct feedback to the vets on their business plans,” Cook said. “The vets told me they learned so much more than if this program was offered in an online format.”
The VET program, which will be offered as a free, eight-week course on the Lawrenceville campus this summer, allows veterans to create their own business concepts, develop a plan for launching it and receive a year of one-on-one mentoring.
According to Cook, the newest addition to the course, a “subject matter expert panel,” will allow those who take part to meet with lawyers, accountants, finance experts, and other professionals.
“The participants in the program will be able to consult with all types of experts, not just their individually assigned mentor, for whatever assistance or advice they may need for their individual business,” Cook said.
Russel Melville, director of Veteran and Military Affairs, connected the skills that veterans learned in the military to the expertise needed for the business world.
“The management and leadership experience the veterans of our armed forces have accumulated over the course of their military careers is invaluable, and dovetails perfectly with the traits needed to run a small business,” Melville said.
Melville praised the program for the training it gives participants with an entrepreneurial mindset.
“This program is an outstanding opportunity for veterans to gain a deeper level of education about starting, running or expanding a business,” Melville said.

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