Entrepreneurial program for veterans coming to Muskegon

Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur (MVE)-Lab will be coming to Muskegon to offer veterans the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. 

The 11th cohort of the MVE-Lab accelerator will meet at the Muskegon Innovation Hub-Grand Valley State University, 200 Viridian Dr, in Muskegon,  for 12 weeks starting March 1. It will meet Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. 

Kevin Ricco, director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub, considers this collaboration a win for Lakeshore veterans and their families. 

“The Muskegon community is home to many Michigan veterans, and this program offers them the opportunity to participate in a free program that can help them either launch their business idea or help them take their fledgling business to the next level.”

Ricco, who was born and raised in the community, says that this not only ties in with the Innovation Hub’s goal of assisting entrepreneurs in creating profitable and
sustainable businesses, but will lead to growth for the regional economy.

Other veterans serve as mentors

Daniel “Michael” Hyacinthe, lead facilitator and ambassador of the MVE-Lab,
says that since its inception in 2018, the organization has helped 140 
veterans learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.

“What makes us unique and different is that we actually award cash prizes through a pitch
competition that we believe will help the veterans take the education they’ve acquired through the classes and go out and build skills and or launch their ideas,” says Hyacinthe, who left the Navy in 2005 after eight years of service. 

A serial entrepreneur himself, Hyacinthe also adds that the MVE-Lab offers an expansive
network of mentors and connections to local resources.

“Many of our veterans come back as mentors to help with current participants,” he says.

Hyacinthe says his time in the service helped him to understand how to be
innovative, though he acknowledges failures along the way. “Focusing and recognizing 
failure is a part of the strategy, but it doesn’t have to be the final answer.”

No-cost educational opportunity

In the MVE-Lab, veterans and their spouses will receive hands-on startup
education for their innovative ideas and startup goals. The first-place winner of the pitch showcase competition will receive $10K, with runners-up being rewarded for their participation from the total prize of $25K.

This program is part of GVSU’s Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which previously assisted participants in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. 

“The program curriculum being offered has been proven to work, and the fact that it is being offered at no cost means that Muskegon-area veterans have access to an amazing educational opportunity without having to disrupt the family budget,” Ricco says.

For more information, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/mve/ and  https://www.gvsu.edu/seidman/michigan-veteran-entrepreneur-lab-168.htm


Read more articles by Shanika P. Carter.