BATON ROUGE, La. — PAVE, a State of Louisiana program that prepares veterans for business success, recently completed its first Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. Held in January as a virtual training event, the boot camp is a crucial part of PAVE, or the Pathway to Assist Veteran Entrepreneurs. More boot camps are scheduled as soon as March for Louisiana veterans, active-duty personnel and reservists who want to start a business.
PAVE is an innovative program to hone the entrepreneurial skills of participants. PAVE begins with three online courses available 24 hours a day. The initial online training covers three sections: Starting a Business; Securing Financing; and Developing a Sales Strategy. Participants then take part in a scheduled boot camp for entrepreneurs, hosted by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, or LSBDC.
Registration for PAVE is underway, with seats available for the next boot camp session on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Interested parties may explore the program at OpportunityLouisiana.com/PAVE and apply online with a $15 registration fee. PAVE is a learning experience created in 2020 through a partnership of Louisiana Economic Development, LSBDC, the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Louisiana National Guard.
“Louisiana Economic Development is proud to support this innovative pathway for helping our veterans convert their deep skill base from military service into a vital livelihood for their families and key contributions to Louisiana’s economy,” said LED Secretary Don Pierson. “We’re very encouraged by our initial training and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. The partnership we enjoy with our Small Business Development Centers, Department of Veterans Affairs and National Guard makes PAVE a promising program for the future of our veterans and our state.”
In the first Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, veterans from five regions of Louisiana took part with a diverse set of business ideas. The PAVE entrepreneurs proposed businesses ranging from trucking, food nutrition, day care and family entertainment ventures to construction, mental health, electrical service, cryptocurrency, career mentoring and rifle manufacturing.
The virtual boot camp is a one-day experience in two parts. In Part I, veterans learn about resources from LED, LSBDC, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs, Louisiana National Guard and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
In Part II, an instructor helps veterans analyze the feasibility of their business plans and also gives next steps for their stage of business planning. Upon completing the boot camp, veterans will continue in the PAVE program and be paired with an LSBDC representative for further consulting and business planning.
PAVE is the latest Louisiana program designed for the state’s veterans, joining other programs that include the Veteran Initiative for state procurement opportunities, and the Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative, which recognizes more than 500 veteran-owned businesses through an online database. Customers may visit LaVeteransFirst.org to search for goods and services and support those veteran-owned businesses. Statewide, the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs assists 277,000 state veterans and their families every day through a network of 74 parish service offices and 26 student veteran centers, as well as five state-operated veterans homes and five state-operated cemeteries for veterans.