According to Director of the Veteran Entrepreneur Program Duncan McGhee, for veterans recently returning from duty, the promise of a job is a fairytale.
"What they've been told all along is that there's all sorts of private sector entities that are clamoring for your experience, but the point of fact is that's not true," he said.
McGhee says that the jobs that veterans are being offered aren't enough to allow vets to provide for their families in the way they've been accustomed to.
"Entrepreneurship provides them with that opportunity, to chart their own course," McGhee said.
The Veteran Entrepreneur Academy seeks to both fast-track vets to small business success and to support them years after they complete the program.
For four months, interested veterans will learn how to validate a market, understand the importance of a balance sheet, and how to build a marketing strategy. Once they complete the academy, they'll automatically qualify for a $20,000 loan.
"It's a great opportunity for veterans to secure the capital they need to launch their business and to have the support they need to drive success on the back end," McGhee said.
Leaders of the Academy will be able to track the success of the businesses and then offer advice on how those start-ups can continue to see growth going forward.
McGhee said the first version of the Academy will take place in Austin, but in the near future, the Texas Veterans Commission is looking to take the show on the road. He said anywhere that has a strong contingent of military veterans, like Wichita Falls, is where the Academy will travel to within a few years.
Applications to the first class of the Veteran Entrepreneur Academy are being accepted through January 26, 2015. Classes begin in Austin on February 28th and go until May 9th.
McGhee also says the program provides resources for vets interested in starting their own business outside of the entrepreneur academy. You can find additional information on the Texas Veterans Commission's website.