Veterans step into new phase of life with business boot camp

The U of R, in partnership with Prince's Trust Canada and Enactus Regina, have hosted the event for seven years. Graduates have gone on to launch food trucks, bakeries and home inspection businesses.

The week-long course includes networking, mentorship and basic business instruction

The veterans boot camp hosted by the University of Regina attracts veterans and transitioning Armed Forces members from across the country. (Radio-Canada)

Military veterans are gathering in Regina for a different kind of boot camp — one that will help prepare them for life after service.

The University of Regina is hosting a business course for veterans and people transitioning out of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The boot camp has provided training in areas of business including marketing, finance and staffing every year since 2012.

"It's always such a great opportunity to give back to people that have served our country," said Lisa Watson, an associate professor in the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the U of R.

Not every former military member will go on to work in business, but Watson says students she keeps in touch with have benefited from the program.

Former CAF members will come to the U of R from across Canada for the camp. They will already have developed business ideas prior to arriving.

Two veterans from Saskatchewan will attend this year. Devin McKenna of Moose Jaw, a former Royal Canadian Air Force member, was inspired to create an online business by his wife, who has an anaphylactic allergy to latex. He plans to sell latex-free products from his website.

"I'm very excited and grateful," he said.

Hands-on learning

Lisa Watson, associate professor at the Paul J. Hill School of Business keeps in touch with former boot camp participants. "It is exciting to play a part in helping so many new business ideas grow," she said. (Radio-Canada)

Traditional classroom learning is only part of the week's instruction.

The School of Business has partnered with Prince's Trust Canada and Enactus Regina to host networking evens and mentorship.

U of R faculty members also provide one-on-one coaching.

Then the former armed forces members will be assigned mentors who will help them transition to their new roles.

"They'll go on to do great things," said Lisa Watson.

More than 100 graduates have completed the program.

with files from Radio-Canada


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