With a financial boost from a local bank, Rider University has launched its first-ever free, summer program targeting veterans who want to start or grow a business.

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The seven-week immersion program begins with two half-day workshops, followed by six weeks of intense classroom training, taught by professors from Rider's entrepreneurship department.

"They'll be working directly on creating their plans and submitting their draft concepts into the professors," said Dr. Ron Cook, Rider professor. "Our class size will be limited to 15 students, so we'll have substantial instructor feedback and individualized attention to the veterans."

Cook said the course is open to veterans of any era who either have a solid business concept in mind, or are part of an existing venture they'd like to expand.

Participants will also be treated to year's worth of follow-up sessions, provided by volunteer business executives.

"The veterans have served us in our country here, and it's our chance to provide this kind of opportunity back to them," added Cook, noting vets have a unique set of skills that would be very beneficial when running a business.

The program was made possible by a $50,000 grant from Hamilton-based Grand Bank. Sign-up includes a $300 registration fee that will be fully refunded to participants who successfully complete the program.

Learn more, or apply for the program, by clicking here.