Next year, Tush said, the school hopes to open the program up to more participants. University officials also are working with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's College of Business to start a similar program there, he said.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Eric Bashaw is one of this year's participants. Bashaw, who works a civilian job as a cable splicer at Camp Pendleton, Calif., hopes to start a communications company of his own in the next few years.
Bashaw said the program has given him a better indication of how to turn that idea into a viable business. In the past, when he's spoken to business owners about how to launch a company, they've been reluctant to give him much information.
“It's kind of smoke and mirrors,” he said.
But the speakers and other participants in the program have all been willing to share even the minutest details, Bashaw said. The fact that all the participants in the program share a military background makes it easier to communicate, he said.
“We're generally all trying to go in the same direction,” he said.