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UC San Diego Partners with SmartMoney Startups to Support Military Veteran Entrepreneurs

On April 9, University of California San Diego and SmartMoney Startups will host -community leaders, active-duty military and veterans to celebrate the inaugural launch of Startup Battlefield 101 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The eight-week certificate program will teach transitioning military members, veterans and military spouses about today’s private sector landscape and how to adapt military strategic planning skills to the startup environment.

The new program builds on the success of UC San Diego’s Veteran Ventures program, which has helped local veterans develop innovations into commercial products or launch new companies. UC San Diego was the first university in the nation to make available its campus-based entrepreneurial programs to all veterans in the community.

Approximately 250,000 military veterans live in San Diego County - one of the highest populations of veterans in the country. UC San Diego and SmartMoney Startups recognize the enormous potential veterans bring to private sector economic growth and are eager to develop future business leaders through this program.

“Our veterans have unique knowledge and experience,” said Paul Roben, UC San Diego’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Commercialization. “Our partnership with SmartMoney Startups is an opportunity to provide our veterans with the tools to leverage their leadership experience to a successful career or startup in the private sector.”

The program starts by selecting veterans who exhibit entrepreneurial qualities and whose life situation is supportive of being an entrepreneur. In-residence classes will be conducted in the evening hours and on local military bases in order to facilitate attendance. Classes will also be made available via live webinar and be recorded for students who are unable to attend in-person.

Said SmartMoney Startups Founder Jeff (J.D.) Davids: “UC San Diego officials asked me to create this program because today’s transitioning veterans are starting down a path that I walked alone many years ago. As a Marine veteran and accomplished entrepreneur, I feel blessed to have this opportunity to help other veterans build a career that they can be proud of without having to repeat some of the hard lessons I learned along the way.”

In addition to a more traditional workshop format, participants will have access to UC San Diego’s network of mentors, companies and advisors, in addition to other accelerator and incubator programs. The course will culminate in a showcase where each participant will have the opportunity to tell their journey from an accomplished military career to a future career as a successful entrepreneur.

“We have a partnership with the City of San Diego to positively make an impact on our region,” said Sandra Brown, Vice Chancellor for Research Affairs, who also oversees the Office of Innovation and Commercialization. “Our veteran community is a very large piece to that puzzle. At UC San Diego, we are not just a veteran-friendly campus. We are a veteran-empowering campus. We position today’s workforce to meet tomorrow’s societal needs.”

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