Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program

VMI's Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program (SUEP) will consist of a five-week summer course, field trips to start-up companies and incubators, and interaction with invited speakers, chosen from alumni and business leaders. The program will be open to cadets in all majors and classes and will take place during Summer Session I.

The 2024 SUEP is offered free of charge to successful applicants through a grant from the Jackson-Hope Fund.  Also, program participants will earn 3 elective credits.

The 2024 application is now closed. Any cadet still interested should contact Col. Cliff West, Director of Innovation Programming.

Why is an entrepreneurship program important to VMI?

Providing cadets with opportunities for a broad exploration of creative and entrepreneurial thinking will engage a wider audience of potential course participants, and it will help the participants develop an entrepreneurial mindset that will support their future plans—whether those plans involve starting a new business, employment within an existing organization, as military leaders, or self-employment.

Skills associated with an entrepreneurial-mindedness typically include adaptability, perseverance, creativity, managing ambiguity, and being action-oriented—all skills that could lead to personal success in any setting.

Why should YOU participate in the VMI Summer Entrepreneurship Course?

Have you ever wanted to start a business but didn’t know where to begin? Have you always envisioned yourself doing something outside the normal path of a corporate job? Have you ever wanted to work on teams and solve real problems, affecting real people in our community?

Then studying entrepreneurship this summer might be right for you.

Don’t have a business idea? That’s ok, an entrepreneurial mindset is a wonderful framework and highly attractive to future employers.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just for folks like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. In fact, the skills that good entrepreneurs possess are transferable in lots of different ways and can carry you through your career - wherever it leads!

Entrepreneurs are:

Creative problem solvers • Self-reliant • Flexible and adaptable • Good communicators • Team players • Willing to take reasonable risks • Future-minded

The Program & Curriculum

The Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) will be adopted for the classroom portion of this program. This curriculum has been used by over 120 colleges and universities, including Virginia Tech, UNC Chapel Hill, and George Washington University.

The curriculum contains 28, 35-60 minute modules and will be integrated into the VMI existing Canvas course management system. Concepts included in the module are:

  • Idea Generation
  • Problem Validation
  • Customer Interviews
  • Experiment Design
  • Revenue Modeling

Program instructors will also incorporate additional lessons to best serve the unique needs of VMI, including topics such as:

  • Idea Generation
  • Business Model Breakdowns
  • Finding Your Early Adopters
  • Pivot or Persevere: Problem Validation
  • Innovation is Not Business as Usual
  • Financial Projection Simulator
  • Pitching your Process.

Partner Organizations

For the program in Summer 2024, VMI has joined forces with The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit entrepreneurial support organization serving the entire Shenandoah Valley.

"The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund is a nonprofit, entrepreneur support organization helping to build a more accessible and equitable ecosystem for every entrepreneur and small business owner in the Shenandoah Valley. SCCF can help you navigate the pitfalls, detours, highs, and lows of starting or expanding a small business. In a world of cold calculations and high-interest loans, we are a safe place for dreamers and schemers to imagine the possibilities, ask questions, and get the funding they need in order to succeed. We are your team! For more information about our programs and services, please visit"

Shenandoah Community Capital Fund logo
Shenandoah Community Capital Fund team.


The 2024 Application is now closed.


What will participants learn and gain from this program?

  • Hands-On Experience: Spend your summer DOING. You will actively work to solve problems through entrepreneurship, and gain hands-on experience on what it takes to start and run a business, not only through the course work, but from the guest entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial field trips we’ll take.
  • Skill Development: Gain a diverse set of skills, including business planning, financial management, marketing strategies, and problem-solving, which are crucial for both entrepreneurship and future career endeavors.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Unleash your power of creative problem solving and innovation to solve real problems. This entrepreneurial mindset can be applied not only to business ventures but also in various aspects of life and work.
  • Risk-Taking and Resilience: Learn to navigate uncertainties and take calculated risks and while developing resilience in the face of challenges—a valuable trait for any career path.
  • Collaborative Teamwork: Work with fellow Cadets to build a strong foundation for your businesses. Learn critical skills around constructive feedback, collaboration, and delegation within the team.
  • Pitching and Presentation Skills: This class will culminate in a public business pitch and will help you hone your ability to communicate effectively and persuasively—a crucial skill in any professional setting.

Entrepreneurship is a skill like playing a sport or an instrument. It’s something you can get better at AND it’s a process that you can apply in countless ways and at any time in your life.

Even if you only plant the seed for entrepreneurship this summer, you’ll be able to rely on these skills you’ll develop whenever you’re ready to start a business of your own!


VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders