Course helps veterans move from battle to business


    LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Maurice Day spent 20 years as a U.S. Army munitions specialist, a job that took him to Iraq, Germany, Hawaii and Turkey. This week, he’ll begin a different career—starting a chain of barbecue restaurants.

    Day, 48, is a student in the first class of VetStart, a pilot program developed by the University of Louisville’s College of Business to help military veterans start their own businesses.

    Ten veterans will go through the course this year, including five starting Feb. 21 and another five starting in September. Each will undergo 10 weeks of entrepreneurship training through the Kauffman FastTrac program and will be eligible to receive up to $2,500 for business start-up expenses, said Sharon Kerrick, a UofL business school professor who designed the program.

    Students then will meet twice a month for a year with mentors at UofL’s business school who will continue to help them develop their businesses.

    “We’ll teach them how to do strategic planning, build a support network and acquire other skills essential to starting a successful business,” Kerrick said.

    Day now sells Moe-licious BBQ, his signature pulled pork cooked in a tomato and vinegar based sauce, from a food truck in Jeffersontown. His goal is to open a permanent storefront that he can eventually leverage into a statewide restaurant chain.

    “I’ve been cooking barbecue for 30 years and I get a lot of positive comments from the people who eat it,” said Day, a Hopkinsville, Ky., native. “I’m ready to make selling it my main job.”

    UofL’s business school and president’s office collaborated with the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund to launch VetStart, with the trust fund providing a $50,000 grant for the program.

    For more information, contact Kerrick at 502-852-4683 or Renee Finnegan, UofL’s executive director of military initiatives and partnerships at 502-852-2153.