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The University of New Mexico is launching a new kind of boot camp for Native American veterans. 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Native American Veterans is a “selective, rigorous and intense educational initiative” for military veterans created in collaboration with Native-driven nonprofit Hesperus and Syracuse University D’Aniello Institute for Veterans & Military Families, according to the program website.

The boot-camp program — a hybrid of four weeks of online programming and a week-long in-person residency in Albuquerque in mid-April — will leverage higher education skills, resources, and infrastructure through experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management, according to a statement from UNM. 

The program is open to Native American Veterans from New Mexico and the Southwest Region with an honorable discharge who are interested in business ownership. Up to 20 veterans will be accepted into the program. 

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The program is provided at no cost through the support of Hesperus and UNM. Covered expenses for the program include transportation, lodging, food, and course meals. The program does not require use of GI bill or VOC-Rehab benefits.

“I am excited and proud that UNM will host the first Native American veteran entrepreneurs boot camp,” UNM Regent Sandar Begay (Diné) said in a statement. “This event is a great partnership to support our Native American veterans, and I imagine this event will continue annually into the future.”

Native Americans have the highest record of military service across all racial groups, serving in the armed forces at a rate of five times the national average, according to The National Indian Council on Aging. According to a 2017 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Native veterans have lower personal incomes than veterans of other races.

Native American veterans interested in applying to the Native entrepreneurship boot camp are encouraged to submit their application by Friday, Feb. 24. UNM is hosting informational sessions on the program for Native vets from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (MST) on Monday, February 13; Wednesday, Feb. 15; and Wednesday, Feb. 22.  To register for one of the information sessions, contact Brandon Lorenzo at [email protected], call (505) 377-3181 or visit EBV-NAV