Seven-day Entrepreneurial Boot Camps

What is it?

Our seven-day intensive business boot camp is designed to help transitioning Canadian Forces members and veterans rapidly advance their entrepreneurial and business skills and knowledge. Each boot camp class is comprised of 20 burgeoning entrepreneurs from across Canada who arrive with a business idea and a passion to learn. There is no cost to participate due to the generous support from program funders and sponsors.

Participants arrive with a developed business idea and learn best practices in marketing, finance, business planning and accounting from business school faculty and together work on a plan to take their businesses to the next level. 

Because learning best practices is only “half the battle”, boot camp focuses on equipping participants with tools to confidently manage the personal challenges that will inevitably arise as they become entrepreneurs. They participate in mentoring forums with local entrepreneurs, receive one-on-one coaching, and build a community of support that lasts long after the week is over. 

Boot camps are held on campus at four Canadian universities:  Université Laval, Dalhousie University, Memorial University, and the University of Regina between May and August each year.

Are you interested? 

In just one week you will:

  • Learn best practices in marketing, social media, finance, business planning, and accounting from business school faculty. Professors have condensed years of experience into lectures and practical workshops delivered over seven days

  • Participate in networking events with local entrepreneurs

  • Practice and polish pitching your business idea

  • Increase your professional network by 50+

  • Work on a plan to take your business to the next level

Who is it for?

Our seven-day boot camp is designed for transitioning Canadian Armed Forces members, Reserve members and veterans of any age who:

  • Are committed to making entrepreneurship and/or self-employment their second career.

  • Are past the idea stage of business development and have a good idea of their product or service and their customer. 

  • Are currently dedicating significant amounts of time and energy to moving the business forward.

If you’ve already done your research, seriously considered the benefits and challenges of working for yourself, and already moved beyond the “idea” stage of your own business, our boot camp might be right for you. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and make it happen!

If you’re still in the idea stage and want to find out more about what it takes to launch and run your own business, consider our free one-day entrepreneurship workshop, or one hour POE Connects call.

Growth in self-employment and the new gig economy

The world of work is changing. Many transitioning members looking for full-time, traditional jobs upon release, may find themselves part of the new “agile workforce” and hired to do the job as a self-employed contractor.  We know transitioning members and veterans are well-poised to confidently navigate this shift and excel – even if it wasn’t the original plan. As the following Globe & Mail article suggests, with a little knowledge and planning, they may even prefer it.  

"The transformation to a gig economy is happening at an astonishing speed in Canada. According to staffing company Randstad Canada, if you add up all the contingent workers, freelancers, independent contractors and consultants, you are talking about 20 to 30 per cent of the Canadian workforce being "non-traditional workers" already. That percentage is only going higher. Eighty-five per cent of the companies surveyed by Randstad figure that they will increasingly move to an "agile workforce" over the next few years.” 

What to expect?

In order to pack it all into just seven days, you'll be staying in residence and spending most of your time on campus. During the day you attend lectures, workshops and panel discussion on topics such as marketing, social media, finance, human resources and presentation skills. In the evenings, there are networking events and time to work one-on-one with student mentors focusing on your specific business needs. 

Confidence Sells!   
One of the toughest earned and most valuable take-aways is the 30 second business pitch. You may start the week searching for words or struggling to explain your business. By Saturday you’ll have honed your idea, narrowed your target market and be able to professionally pitch to anyone in 30 seconds or less including bankers, future customers or future suppliers. 

After boot camp:

  • Join the active POE alumni network

  • Paired with a mentor as part of the Mentor a Veteran program 

  • Access to a national network of 15 regional small business centres, industry experts and veteran entrepreneurs

  • List business in the Canadian Veteran Business Directory

  • Access one-on-one business coaching

  • Participate in networking opportunities

  • Opportunity to contribute to Entrepreneurial Recon podcast series

  • Volunteer opportunities to help promote entrepreneurship

What to bring:

  • A laptop if you have one

  • Work you’ve done already (business information, research) 

  • The dress code is business-casual for most days and business wear for networking events including the graduation ceremony on Saturday evening 

  • Comfortable walking shoes or athletic clothing.  The week is long and intense. We recommend adding exercise to your daily routine for mental and physical health

Sample seven-day boot camp schedule 

Boot camp impact on skills and confidence

What past participants have said:
“Invaluable experience for any entrepreneur or inspiring entrepreneur. Even if you already have some business background you definitely won't go home empty handed.” - 2017 Graduate
“Honestly it was all amazing, however I think my favourite part was all the Veterans getting together. For those of us who have released, I think this helped us settle in quickly as we established new friendships” - 2018 Graduate
“It is an unparalleled opportunity for a releasing military person to gain precious insight into the essentials of entrepreneurship.” - 2017 Graduate

2020 Boot Camps: 

Université Laval: Quebec City, QC (en français) –  le 3 mai au 9 mai 2020
Dalhousie University: Halifax, NS – June 7th-13th 
Memorial University: St. John’s, NL– July 19th-25th 
University of Regina: Regina, SK – August 16th-22nd 


Boot camp

  Due date

 Acceptance date 

 Université Laval (French) 

 March 2020    

 March 2020        

 Dalhousie University  

 May 2020

May 2020

Memorial University & University of Regina     

 June 2020

June 2020

If you apply before May 2020, you will be eligible for all three English boot camps. We encourage you to apply early.

2020 Boot Camp Application 

There are three sections to this application: personal and CAF service information; questions about your business idea; then an opportunity to share your passion for entrepreneurship. It’s a competitive process.  Complete and focused applications have a greater chance of success.  

The ideal candidate to get the most out of the boot camp week is within 1-2 years of transitioning out of the CAF or recently released within 1-3 years. 

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:
1. Proximity to release date
2. Personal readiness
3. Business or business idea readiness
4. Entrepreneurial spirit 


Boot camp

  Due date

 Acceptance date 

 Dalhousie University 

 May 2020

 May 2020

 Memorial University & University of Regina     

 June 2020

June 2020

Those applying before May 2020 are eligible for all boot camps so apply early.

Tips for applying:

1. The suggested range for long answers is 50-150 words. We recommend cutting and pasting responses from a Word document into the application form to prevent possible loss of work. 
2. In the business section, add details illustrating your business idea is well thought out and focused. If you’re having difficulty, consider these questions: How did the idea came about?  Was there a need? Can you do something better? Have you connected with anyone in the industry? What mental and physical leg work have you done?  
3. Please include accomplishments and personal successes while in the military.   
4. For the entrepreneurial spirit section, let your passion shine through.  “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” – Lori Greiner.  Are you that passionate? What’s driving you?   
5. Think about what you hope to gain from the week. How you are uniquely positioned to utilize this opportunity going forward?  

The application form below works with virtually all web browsers updated in the last two years (i.e. Apple Safari 5 or later, Firefox 30 or later, Chrome 18 or later, Internet Explorer 9 or later.) If your application won’t submit or you don’t receive a confirmation email, contact for a downloadable version.  Note: The DND firewall or other factors may impact the web form’s functionality. Try applying from a different computer first. 

On behalf of the program partners, sponsors and supporters thank you for applying.

Do not use apply This ensures links function properly in follow up communication. Once submitted, a confirmation email is automatically sent. If not received, apply again checking for email address typos.

We recommend cutting and pasting responses from a Word document into the application form to prevent possible loss of work. 

* Required






Dear boot camp volunteer,

Thank you for being part of the 2020 boot camp season. Whether you'll be with us all week or just a couple of hours, we are very glad you’ll be part of the team helping 80 veteran entrepreneurs gain valuable business skills, increase their networks, and develop the confidence necessary to start and grow successful businesses. 

Boot camp is designed to be a professional development opportunity for all involved. Everyone who is part of the week, such as students, faculty, local entrepreneurs and sponsors etc., are given the opportunity to give back to those who’ve served our country by putting their business and entrepreneurial skills to work. In exchange, you will learn about the unique experiences of those who have served in the Canadian Forces. We would love for you to share your volunteer experience with your network by adding it to your LinkedIn profile. For instructions on how to do so, click here

This form has three sections. The first is to learn a little about you and to ensure your name tag is correct upon arrival. Everyone involved in Prince's Trust Canada's programs must wear their Prince's Trust Canada name tag at all times while being part of the week.

The second section is an agreement between you and Prince's Trust Canada to follow the Code of Conduct as established by Prince's Trust Canada and our collaborating partners to ensure you and everyone involved in boot camp gets the most out of the program. 

The third section is your agreement to the photo and media release polices. It is important to know that formal and informal photographs are taken throughout the week by participants, students, program organizers, and occasional media, and you understand how your image may be used. Please read the form HERE before continuing. 

Once the three sections are complete and submitted, please check your inbox for a confirmation email.  Thank you again and we look forward to meeting you at boot camp!

Janet McCausland 
Head of Programs 
Prince's Trust Canada 

* Required

Attend and arrive on time for all my scheduled sessions
Act professionally and maintain professional relationships and open lines of communication with all involved
Not to directly or indirectly use boot camp to promote myself and solicit business
Ensure I am never alone with a participant in a closed space not visible to others
Ensure interactions and conversations are focused on program-related activities and objectives