Last last month Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into action aimed towards helping Louisiana veterans find business opportunities once they are no longer on active duty. The Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program was a collaboration between Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, the Louisiana Business & Technology Center and LSU Executive Education.

According to a LED release, the program will is aiming to train 108 participants in the first year, with a target of a minimum of 30 percent of the participants opening their own business and raising at least $5 million in startup capital together. The long-term goal of the program is to create 100 new jobs through these businesses.

“The Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program will transform the skills that our veterans possess into the complete package they need to launch their own businesses and create their own jobs,” LED Secretary Pierson said. “As we honor veterans for their service, it’s our hope that these sessions, tools and resources will promote further self-sufficiency and lead to success in the business world for these dedicated patriots. As a veteran myself, it’s an honor for me as LED secretary to play a role in launching the program this Memorial Day.”

Participants will complete an online, three-week course, followed by face-to-face hands on training, where they will learn skills such as the steps to start a business, marketing, financing and capital formation, among other skills, at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center at LSU Innovation Park.

“This is LSU’s way of thanking our state’s military heroes for their service by helping them develop a second career after their military service,” said Executive Director Charles D’Agostino of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center. “The program will be conducted jointly by LBTC and LSU Executive Education of the E.J. Ourso College of Business. At the end of the boot camp, veterans will exit with a business plan, an implementation plan and introduction to potential investors and lenders to help them make their dream a reality.”

According to a 2015, the VA estimates there to be 330,145 veterans in the State of Louisiana, making up roughly 7 .1 percent of the population.

The first program is expected to launch either this summer or early fall, with more camps in late 2017 and early 2018. Veterans who would like to participate in the program, or for more information, can contact the Louisiana Business & Technology Center at (225) 578-7555.