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Military veterans tackle business boot camp at University of Regina

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Global News Regina: Twenty Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members transitioning out of the military and embarking on new careers took part in a seven-day business boot camp at the University of Regina (U of R).

The educational program — named Price’s Operation Entrepreneur — was developed by Prince’s Charities Canada in 2012 and is held annually in four locations across Canada. Regina is the only place west of Quebec where the program is available.

Professors and students in the U of R’s Paul J. Hill School of Business volunteered time– sharing expertise and knowledge with the vets.

“These military members will be ready to start their second careers,” Paul J. Hill Associate Dean Brian Schumacher said.

“They’ve said they want to start their business. We’re going to do what we can to help them along that way.”

Through lectures and discussions, the transitioning military members learned lessons in marketing, accounting, and further developed their business plans.

“We offer training, we offer mentoring and resources for them to have the confidence and the network they need to start their own business,” Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur director Janet McCausland said.

McCausland added that many participants used the skills they learned in the military to strengthen their second careers in business.

“We had a woman who was in the navy and had to keep her stuff in a very small space. So she’s now started an organizing store in Quebec City,” she said.

Former reservist Charlotte Greenall participated in the week-long program. She served 27 years with the 38 Signal Regiment based out of Winnipeg and in that time volunteered for multiple deployments abroad.

“I think I was looking for something bigger than myself. Something bigger to give back to my country,” she recalled.

In 2009, Greenall was deployed to Afghanistan for a seven and a half month tour, serving as a liaison between civilians and the military in Kandahar. But her years of service to Canada’s military eventually took its toll.

“When I was first diagnosed around 2012 with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression… that hit me quite hard. I was in denial as well,” she said.

Medically released from the reserves and seeking help through holistic healing methods, Greenall turned to business as a way to keep working.

“I’m the type of person to just take a leap. Sink or swim and I’m a good swimmer,” she said.

“This is, I feel like, my last military course. Even though it’s not military. To kind of push me forward again and get me going in a different direction, which is amazing.”

According to Prince’s Charities Canada, 161 businesses have been started by 250 boot camp graduates.

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