‘Boot Camp’ held in Chapel Hill to help veterans and active military become successful entrepreneurs


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of veterans, active military and their spouses are learning how to become better entrepreneurs this weekend in Chapel Hill.

A classroom full of students with pens and computers listening to speakers may sound like the furtherst thing from a group of military members in a boot camp, but that’s exactly what it is.

The “Patriot Boot Camp” is being held at UNC’s Center for School Leadership Development this weekend.

Ray Antonio, who served as an Army reservist, was one of about 50 military veterans and spouses at the boot camp to learn the skills it takes to become successful entrepreneurs.

Antonio owns a construction business, but is working on a way to manage his company more efficiently. He and others gathered at UNC will hear from 30 presenters and meet with 40 mentors this weekend.

It’s said that the military is a community. These budding entrepreneurs understand one another and can network.

“They’re very professional. They’ve got tenacity. They know how to execute. So we see veterans make very good entrepreneurs and so we want to actually give them the tools to make that move and go forward and build those companies successfully,” said Dave Drach, a mentor and vice president of partnerships at Techstars.

“These people really do a great job of bringing in some world class talent and being able to give us the mentorship and you know, it’s what we do with it beyond here and we have exposure and opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Ray Antonio.

The Patriot Boot Camp is free for participants and has been held in five spots around the country since 2012. The three-day camp, which lasts through Sunday, is the first one to be held in North Carolina.

For more information: http://patriotbootcamp.org/

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