Veterans program mints new class of entrepreneurs

vlv20161Above (left to right): Veterans Launching Ventures students Susan Maguire, Rita Smith, and VLV mentor, Alan Levitan won the business plan competition and $500 seed money with which to start their businesses.

By Timur Pakay

In December, the Veterans Launching Ventures fall program completed its sixth year, with students making their final presentations on their business plans. New this edition of the class, students worked with mentors to build business plans and competed for monetary prizes that go towards the launch of their new businesses. This year’s winners are Susan Maguire of Montclair, NJ and Rita Smith of Lyons, NJ.

vlv20162Above: Students Rita Smith and Levin DeShields with their certificates.

At the end of the session, students received certificates of completion and then attended a holiday-inspired graduation reception.

Now entering its seventh year, the VLV program is a ten-week course designed to give veterans key business planning skills to help them launch their own businesses and provides ten months of free business mentoring.

vlv20163Above: Timur Pakay, executive director of FDU's Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and VLV student Jose Carballo.

Veterans Launching Veterans is offered by the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is generously sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, Investors Foundation, and the Jesra Foundation.

Part of the Silberman College of Business since 1989, the mission of the Rothman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to teach and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the academic, business and nonprofit communities. For more information, go to