Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers: With Support from Comcast’s Mountain West Region, the Utah Veteran Business Resource Center Celebrates Milestone Graduation with its STRIVE Program.

In a landmark achievement, a leading veteran entrepreneurial program provided by the Utah Veteran Business Resource Center (VBRC), Startup Training Resources to Inspire Veteran Entrepreneurs (STRIVE), recently celebrated its largest-ever graduating classes at The Mill Entrepreneurship Center at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). What makes this accomplishment even more remarkable is that, for the first time, the program simultaneously completed two separate cohorts: one following the traditional format open to both men and women veterans, and the other exclusively focusing on the unique challenges faced by women veterans in the business world. Comcast’s Mountain West Region contributed amazing support for the STRIVE Program which is provided in partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

“This accomplishment is really a testament to the commitment of the support we receive to provide this resource to our military community,” explained Becky Guertler, Manager, Utah Veteran Business Resource Center. “We appreciate the incredible support we received from Comcast that helped to make this happen.”

Empowering Veterans of All Backgrounds: Traditional Cohort

The traditional cohort, inclusive of both men and women, witnessed a record number of graduates who successfully completed the intensive program. Covering a spectrum of business essentials, from strategic planning and developing a unique value proposition to legal considerations and financial management, these veterans are now equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the competitive entrepreneurial landscape.

Pioneering Support for Women Veterans: Specialized Cohort

In response to the specific challenges faced by women veterans in the business realm, the Utah VBRC STRIVE program and the IVMF introduced a pioneering cohort in the state tailored exclusively for this demographic. Addressing topics such as networking, access to funding, and navigating industry biases, this specialized course aimed to provide a supportive and targeted environment for female veterans pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors.

Lacy J. Hardman, Owner of Swell Retreat and STRIVE graduate, shared about her experience in the Women Only Veteran STRIVE Class, “I absolutely loved being a part of STRIVE’s 1st ever all women veteran business course! I am in the process of taking my start up business to the next level and all the tools, information, and advisor resources STRIVE offers helped me save time and money!! I finished the class with a clear plan and a team of advisors I can trust to turn to for help as I implement my plan. A happy bonus was networking with the women in my course!! I am encouraging all of my Veteran battle buddies interested in business to attend this amazing course!!”

Historic Achievement and Future Opportunities

The simultaneous completion of two distinct cohorts not only represents a historic achievement for the VBRC but also underscores the commitment to inclusivity and addressing the unique needs of all veterans in the State of Utah. The success of the women-focused cohort has paved the way for future iterations, the next offering scheduled for January.

What’s Next: January Cohort

Due to the overwhelming response and success of both the traditional and the specialized women’s cohorts, The Utah VBRC is thrilled to announce that both will be offered again in January. This presents another opportunity for entrepreneurial veterans to engage with a program designed specifically to empower and address the challenges they may encounter in their entrepreneurial journey. Guertler shared, “Throughout the entire state of Utah, we support our entrepreneurial veterans and military connected individuals, including spouses. The STRIVE Program will take any entrepreneur and provide the time and tools to focus on their businesses to accomplish their vision.”

Celebrating and Fostering Success for Veteran and Military Owned Businesses

As we celebrate this monumental graduation, we acknowledge the diversity within the veteran community and the importance of tailoring support systems to individual needs. The Utah VBRC’s commitment to fostering success for veteran and military owned businesses sets a powerful precedent for other veteran-focused entrepreneurial opportunities. “Working with the Utah VBRC, those we serve are provided an immense amount of support and valuable resources including a full entrepreneurship map to help them continue their journey of success. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support we do from Comcast, The Mill Entrepreneurship Center at SLCC, the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and the IVMF as we plan to increase our support in 2024 for our veteran entrepreneurs in Utah,” Guertler added.

In the spirit of growth and empowerment, we look forward to witnessing the continued success of these graduates and the positive impact they will undoubtedly make in the business world. Congratulations to the STRIVE class graduates for breaking new ground and setting the stage for continued strength in Utah’s entrepreneurial landscape.