By Michelle Colesanti

Veterans and active duty service members who are interested in starting a business or growing a current small business are encouraged to attend the second annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium (VETS). This event to compete in a “Pitch Competition” for cash prizes is free and lunch is included.

The symposium will take place on Saturday, November 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and will help attendees discover dynamic ideas for their future. Spouses are welcome to attend.

Dr. Andy Gold, part of the Business Faculty at Hillsborough County Community College (HCC) said, “It is important to connect our veteran population with the active and engaged entrepreneurship community in the Tampa Bay area. Veterans possess many of the core attributes required to be a successful entrepreneur, and this event creates an opportunity for them to explore that potential.”

“No boring lectures that day,” Desheaun Hines, who served in the Marines, said.  “It wasn’t just some class, but more like an active teaching event. The event and the people I met made me feel confident in knowing that becoming an entrepreneur is very possible. I just have to put in the effort.”

Receive insight from Brig. General Chip Diehl, Karen Mertes of Fulfill Your Destiny and other successful business owners. Attendees will participate in business formation, social media and marketing, manufacturing, crowdfunding and franchising.

“We want to have an impact on our veteran community. It’s important to deliver a day full of opportunities to network and gain a working knowledge of entrepreneurship,” said Beth Kerlywho is part of the HCC Business Faculty.

The symposium will take place at Hillsborough Community College at the Brandon Campus in the Student Services Building, located at 10414 E. Columbus Dr. in Tampa. There is no cost for this event, but attendees need to register at

The Hillsborough County Economic Development is financially supporting this symposium. For more information, visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.