Startup Training Resources to Inspire Veteran Entrepreneurship

Now Accepting Applications!!

Apply Now


KCC in collaboration with The Kaua‘i Veterans Council is proud to announce the launch of our third cohort in the Startup Training Resources to Inspire Veteran Entrepreneurship (STRIVE) program which is part of a landmark initiative that transforms veterans and military family members into entrepreneurs. Delivered by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) ARSENAL of 8 national entrepreneurship programs, STRIVE leverages networks and education resources in local communities to support and advance veteran-owned businesses.

  • STRIVE at KCC is a free local program for veterans with a budding business. The program helps to identify, overcome, and mitigate challenges for the new venture to pave the way for veteran business ownership success. 
  • STRIVE empowers veterans, military members, and their families to live the American dream.
  • STRIVE aims to open the door to economic opportunity for veterans, Guard members, and reservists by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture.

Applications are welcome from all veterans, active duty (within one year of discharge), and military spouses who demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

The 9-week course consists of evening in-person classes held at KCC’s campus.


  • Open to all honorably discharged Veterans, spouses, active duty service members (with less than one year before discharge), and current or former members of the National Guard or Reserves. 
  • 50% or more of the business must be owned by a Veteran, active military service member, Reserve/Guard, or military spouse. 


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This program is designed to help Veterans through all stages of their business plan. Whether they have an idea, a business in the early stages, or an established business looking to grow, everyone will benefit from this training course. 
Throughout the course, participants will develop their entrepreneurial knowledge and interact with subject matter experts to identify, overcome, and mitigate trouble spots, leading to increased confidence and potential for success.
The program’s purpose is to take an early-stage business or business plan through a structured and practical process. The course will be delivered:
  • Face-to-face: Interactive in-class discussions one night per week for 9 weeks
  • Mentorship: At the conclusion of the 9 weeks, participants have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor who has the experience to support the launch and growth of the business concept. 

The STRIVE program is designed to set early businesses up for success. However, it is not designed to teach participants in-depth theories like those taught in an undergraduate or graduate level entrepreneurship program.
What are the expectations of me as a STRIVE participant?

  • Attend all classes
  • Be on time
  • Have all assignments completed and prepared for each class
  • Be open to engaging with fellow participants, instructors, and guest speakers
The STRIVE program is a mixture of in-class instruction and homework assignments. Participants will attend weekly evening meetings in person and will be matched with mentors equipped with specific knowledge and backgrounds applicable to the growth of each business concept.
Closer to the starting date of the initial class, all participants will receive an invitation to an online course orientation. All university COVID-19 protocols will be followed regarding large group events. If delivery of the program must be conducted virtually, all participants will be notified as soon as this decision has been made.
  • Monday’s 5:30 pm-8:30 pm
  • Class dates: May 6th, 2024 - July 1st, 2024

What is the course content?
Each week the course will cover a different topic and have round table discussions led by local entrepreneurs. The topics covered in each course and the class schedule are listed below:

  • Week One: Introduction to STRIVE and the CE Mindset
  • Week Two: It’s All About the Customer
  • Week Three: Key Resources
  • Week Four: Key Partners
  • Week Five: Key Activities 
  • Week Six: Channels
  • Week Seven: Revenue Streams
  • Week Eight: Cost Structures
  • Week Nine: Making Your Pitch, Graduation and Next Steps

Applicants are encouraged to apply by April 15th, 2024. Seats are limited and applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible.
All applicants must fill out an online application. In addition, each applicant must have a business idea or have an existing business to participate in the program.  The class content and assignments will utilize this information throughout the program.
Click HERE to begin the application process.
Once you have submitted your application, someone from Kaua‘i Community College STRIVE Program will contact you to set up a Zoom orientation.
After the orientation, you will be notified of your acceptance into the program.
If you have any additional questions, please contact a KCC STRIVE representative at or

Program Graduate Resources

  • As a graduate or participant of one of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ programs, you are part of an ever-growing network of IVMF alumni across the globe! 
  • As IVMF was founded at Syracuse University and is headquartered on their campus, completing an IVMF program also makes you a Syracuse University Alum! 
  • This extensive network is here for you to stay connected and leverage for your professional/entrepreneurial journey.
  • Take advantage of resources, webinars, and a community of veterans and military spouses that share the IVMF bond through their post-service lives. 
  • Long after you complete your course or residency, you are connected to the IVMF team for follow-up resources and opportunities as your professional goals evolve. 

Meet the KCC STRIVE Team

Dirk SomaDirk N. Soma was born in Waimea, Kaua‘i, and raised in Aliamanu, Oahu.  Growing up, he and his brother were always looking for ways to earn money for snacks, Hot Wheels, or the movies. Lemonade stands, selling homemade Loves Bread malasadas, mangoes, and flavored ice cups were just some of the early entrepreneurial endeavors.  In college, Dirk started Stickman Ts, a t-shirt company that helped pay for his college tuition.  Once bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Dirk created a dry cleaning pick-up and delivery service for downtown Honolulu business professionals and a catering company serving private aircraft throughout Hawai`i.  His passion for entrepreneurship continues as he now champions the innovators of tomorrow through his classes at Kauai Community College, as well as workshops and presentations that he conducts at conferences locally, nationally, and internationally.

Alicia SamsHello! I’m Alicia Sams and I’m the Veteran Support Counselor at Kaua‘i Community College. I will be assisting the program with marketing, recruitment, and administrative tasks. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about STRIVE and can’t wait to help you grow your business.