Campus Life

Military and Veterans Resource Center partners with Veterans Florida to provide free business class to veterans

The Military and Veterans Resource Center at the University of West Florida, in partnership with Veterans Florida, recently launched a master advanced class that is designed to help entrepreneurial veterans start a business in the Panhandle area. In addition to the training, the enrolled veterans will have the opportunity to compete for $40,000 in cash and in-kind service donations during a business plan pitch contest. The contest will be on May 5, following the completion of the class. It will be judged by a panel of local business leaders.

“This is a real opportunity to add and grow small businesses in the Pensacola and Panhandle area,” said Robert Foster, program coordinator and a 40-year serial entrepreneur and veteran from the Vietnam War era.

Foster collaborates with Dr. Justin Davis, UWF professor in the Department of Management and Management Information System and entrepreneur, Lloyd Reshard, retired Air Force research scientist and serial entrepreneur, and Kelly Massey, regional director with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network with experience in Fortune 500 human resources and manufacturing to ensure the delivery of a real-world, practical and sustainable blueprint for success to students. Classes cover marketing, manufacturing, channels, raising capital, customer validation, sales, culture and other relevant topics. The class is funded by a grant from Veterans Florida.

“I am excited by the team we have assembled,” said Marc Churchwell, founder and director of the UWF MVRC.“They are no-nonsense, street-savvy business professionals. I am even more excited about the group of veterans who were selected to participate. We have also pulled together a group of local mentors in multiple disciplines to complement the training.”

Those interested in mentoring can contact Robert Foster at For additional information on the course, contact Marc Churchwell at