Military transition business boot camp held at the University of Regina

The Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur (POE), a program of Prince’s Charities Canada, started its seven-day business boot camp for transitioning Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members at The Paul J. Hill School of Business, University of Regina on August 20.

POE provides business education to transitioning CAF members and veterans. It is a made-in-Canada program that combines two of HRH The Prince of Wales’ lifelong interests of encouraging entrepreneurship and support for the CAF. The program helps military members embarking upon their second careers to start their own businesses and create economic and social impacts in their communities. The seven-day boot camp provides an opportunity for participants to focus on their next mission, their own success. Community and student collaboration are key components of the boot camp experience. Throughout the week, professors at The Paul J. Hill School of Business, University of Regina, on a volunteer basis share their expertise and industry knowledge in the classroom. Undergraduate business students from Enactus Regina (a community of student, academic and business leaders enabling progress through entrepreneurial action) are paired with participants and provide one-on-one guidance to begin crafting their plans for their business. Local entrepreneurs and businesses shared their experience at networking events throughout the week.

“We are always delighted to play a part in these people’s lives as such a pivotal time,” explains Dr. Lisa Watson, Associate Professor in the Paul J. Hill School of Business and one of the two faculty advisors responsible for the training component of the program. “Our faculty continues to be proud to offer this program each year, and to have the opportunity to help this year’s 20 military members develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in business.”

One of the military participants, Jacqueline Buckley from Carstairs, Alberta, recently opened Symétrie by Jacqueline Buckley. Symétrie is a wellness, beauty, communication and lifestyle company helping clients create a balance in those four areas. “This week I’m looking for knowledge and mentorship from those who have succeeded and understand,” says Buckley.

After being medically released in 2010 stemming from a severe PTSD diagnosis, Buckley began a journey in re-discovery of self and realized that people have lost the ability to recognize their inner and outer beauty due to traumatic situations in life. “I wanted to focus on providing a well-rounded genre of services that can assist trauma survivors, military veterans and others in re-discovering their own beauty to be able to transition into their new life.”

Two alumni of the University of Regina boot camps met His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales at CFB Trenton as part of the recent Royal Tour on June 30. Steve Day (Regina boot camp 2013) and Jay McArthur (Regina boot camp 2016) discussed the program and their businesses with The Prince during the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur Veteran Business Expo.  POE is the only program of its kind in Canada.

“We have seen many inspiring stories of business success,” said Amanda Sherrington, president and CEO, Prince’s Charities Canada. “His Royal Highness is deeply committed to supporting the military community, for whom he serves as colonel-in-chief to seven regiments.”

Since 2012, the 330 graduates of the POE boot camps have started over 200 businesses. Many of them are listed in POE’s new Canadian Veteran Business Directory, an online searchable directory of veteran-owned businesses in Canada. Now patriotic Canadian can choose to “buy veteran” from businesses ranging from home inspectors, to artisan bakeries, kite surfing tours and photographers.

© Copyright Weyburn This Week 2017

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