This week, Florida State University (FSU) will welcome a new class of post-9/11 veterans to the sixth annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, which provides cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small-business management to veterans with service-connected disabilities as they pursue the American dream of business ownership. Since its inception, the EBV program has been offered without cost to participants.
FSU’s EBV Class of 2013 is made up of 22 veterans, four women and 18 men spanning the ages of 28-62. This class hails from every corner of the U.S., including seven from Florida, including 11 Soldiers, four Marines, two Sailors and five Airmen. They have business ideas and ventures that range from website and social media consulting to a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment program, to a veteran’s garden and more.
Offered in three phases, the EBV provides veterans with skills necessary to successfully launch and grow a new business. Through online coursework, an intense on-campus experience and 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship via the EBV-Technical Assistance Program (EBV-TAP), veterans learn how to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers and develop a marketing strategy.
During their nine-day residency at FSU, veterans will be exposed to accomplished entrepreneurs, academics, disability experts and business leaders from across the country. Their residency experience is intense: a typical workday begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Participants spend their time on campus in classes, workshops and breakout sessions, hearing from industry professionals about best practices that will help them start a business and/or grow a current endeavor. The schedule also includes a few social events to encourage discussion, camaraderie and provide a taste of the Tallahassee community. The EBV program closes with a graduation ceremony and awards presentation on Wednesday, June 12.
EBV is widely acclaimed as the premier entrepreneurship training program for veterans in the nation, has been recognized as a “National Best Practice” by the Department of the Army for serving Soldiers and their families and received the McGraw-Hill Award from the Academy of Management for the most innovative entrepreneurship program implemented by U.S. business schools in 2010. In 2011, Inc. Magazine named the EBV program as one of the “10-Best” entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. Most recently, the national EBV program was the subject of a 60 Minutes feature story, which can be viewed here.
By the end of 2013, more 700 veterans will have graduated from the national program since 2007. Though some participants operate previously established ventures, 57 percent of all EBV graduates have launched a new venture following their time in the program, and 88 percent still have those ventures operational. Through their ventures, EBV graduates have added more than 670 employees to the national workforce, many of them veterans themselves.
The EBV was founded at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in 2007 and is operated under the auspices of the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). A national consortium consisting of a network of eight world-class schools offers the EBV nationwide through programs at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles; College of Business at Florida State University; Mays Business School at Texas A&M University; Krannert School of Management at Purdue University; School of Business at the University of Connecticut; E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University; and the EBV’s first specialty program in hospitality at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, which held its inaugural program last fall.
About the IVMF
As the first institute of its kind in the nation, the IVMF leverages the intellectual, programmatic and human capital resources of higher education in support of the post-service life course of the nation’s veterans and military families. The IVMF focuses on developing impactful programming, cultivating actionable research, conducting policy analysis and providing technical assistance positioned to address the social, economic and public policy challenges facing the veterans’ community. The IVMF team approaches this mission as a collaboration, forging enduring partnerships with government, private industry, institutions of higher education, philanthropic organizations and stakeholders committed to supporting transitioning service members, veterans and their families. Visit vets.syr.edu for more information. Follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, VetNet and LinkedIn. Follow V-WISE onFacebook and Twitter.