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Rider University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies will offer a free six-week program this summer that supports veterans who want to develop a business concept or grow an existing business.  

Now in its 11th year, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Training (VET) Program is accepting applications through May 16. Registration is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and space is limited to 20 students to allow for individualized attention.  

Applicants must be a veteran, veteran spouse or a dependent of a veteran with a business concept to pursue. All classes are held at Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. 

Participants enter the program at all different phases of their entrepreneurship journey, says Ron Cook, Ph.D., the founder and executive director of Rider’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies who teaches the program.  

“We have vets investigating the basic idea of ‘Should I be starting anything?’” he says. “We have other vets who come in with a business concept and they want to determine its feasibility, and we have others who are looking to grow their business with a new line of inquiry.” 

In addition to receiving personalized feedback, program participants are granted access to Rider’s library databases, which provide detailed information about their concept’s industry, demographics and competition. “This information is vital for making better decisions,” Cook says.  

Upon completion of the classroom portion, veterans will receive one year of mentoring as they pursue their venture dreams. 

“This training program was the key ingredient I needed to guide me through the many complex issues and risks needing to be considered prior to embarking on my business journey,” says Al Procell, a retired commercial pilot who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. “The program was a great learning experience, a tremendous source of information and resources from start to finish, and definitely worth the time and effort.” 

Procell enrolled in Rider’s VET program last summer with the intent of establishing a family business that would offer those of Polish heritage interested in securing ancestral birth certificates or other family records a direct connection to legal services in Poland. 

“The VET program offered a tremendous amount of information and resources that enabled me to continue developing my business efforts long after the program was finished,” says Procell.  

The program is made possible through the support of the New Jersey Bankers Charitable Foundation, Inc., which was established in 2005 to honor fallen or permanently disabled military members in the post-9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts by providing scholarships to their eligible dependents. In 2015, the Foundation’s mission was expanded to include broader charitable causes in addition to veteran causes.  

Interested applicants can apply online. For more information or questions about the program, contact Cook directly at or 609-895-5522.