TechStars launches Patriot Boot Camp for veterans, service members

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Starting this summer, TechStars is bringing new meaning to the concept of “boot camp” for veterans and service members.

The Boulder, Colo.-based startup incubator announced Monday that it is launching an intense three-day program in July to help veterans and service members build tech companies and create jobs.

“Participation in the Patriot Boot Camp will be the catalyst for veterans and service members to kickstart a company, find co-founders, and advance as entrepreneurs,” TechStars founder and CEO David Cohen wrote in a blog post.

Drawing from TechStars’ pool of mentors, alumni and friends, the boot camp will include presentations from industry leaders, one-on-one mentoring and interactions with successful startups in Washington, DC. The hands-on program will also walk participants through the process of launching a company – from coming up with a business plan and crafting a fundraising pitch to completing an accelerator application and refining a product. At the end of the three days, each participant will present their ideas at a Digital Demo Day.

TechStars’ announcement comes just a few days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans climbed to 12.7 percent in May, up from 9.2 the previous month. That compares to a national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.

The jobless rate for all veterans is 7.8 percent, according to the BLS, but recent reports show that the youngest veterans and those serving in the National Guard or Reserve have the most difficult time finding employment. A New York Times article in December painted a bleak picture, indicating that the jobless rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 rose from 21 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2011.

In his post, TechStars’ Cohen said TechStars launched the RisingStars program recognizing that some demographic groups are underrepresented in the tech community and, in the coming months, it plans to create more opportunities for a wider audience of entrepreneurs.

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