Matt Bills of PGW Small Engine Repair/Sales, LLC. has been selected as a delegate for the super competitive 2020 VEP (Veterans Entrepreneurship Program) at Oklahoma State University, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Preference in selection is given to disabled veterans and those with exemplary military service. Matt served in the Navy from 1989 - 1995 and is a Persian Gulf War Era disabled veteran that served on USS John Young DD-973 [Spruance Class Destroyer] that deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 & 1993 in support of operations to enforce southern & northern no-fly zones over Iraq that were established following the end of Persian Gulf War. Matt served aboard the USS John Young DD-973 as a member of the ships crew as a Fire Controlman 3rd Class (E-4) until promotion to Fire Controlman 2nd Class (E-5) in 1994. While stationed on USS John Young DD-973 his primary responsibility was the maintenance, repair, and operation of NATO Seasparrow Surface-to-Air missile system to ensure its combat readiness as a defense against anti-ship missiles, fixed-wing, and rotary aircraft. Additionally, Matt served as a member of the ship's NWST (Nuclear Weapons Security Team) as the USS John Young DD-973 also carried a number of Tomahawk Cruise Missile which could be outfitted with a W80 nuclear weapon payload.
The 2020 VEP (Veterans Entrepreneurship Program) at Oklahoma State University, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in Stillwater, Oklahoma is broken up into 3 distinct phases -
Phase I, Business Concept development and self-study (5-weeks, mid-January thru Mid-February 2020);
Phase II, VEP Boot Camp - consisting of an intense 8-day residency in Oklahoma State University, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (late February 2020) that provides the opportunity for hands-on learning and interaction with faculty, guest entrepreneurs, business experts, and peer delegates from throughout the U.S.;
Phase III - VEP Delegates are provided with five months of mentorship (April - August 2020) from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts and online peer-to-peer networking. This phase of the VEP enables delegates to get feedback specific to their ventures and offers extended hands-on learning, which is critical to success.
It is a tremendous blessing that the cost of this program for delegates including instruction, materials as well as the travel expenses, lodging, and meals during the 8-day residency in Stillwater, Oklahoma are fully paid for by generous sponsors and private donors.