Another Initiative Serving Veterans and Military Families Operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
Veteran Owned Businesses to Compete in National Business Plan Competition in Charlotte, NC | IVMF | EBV National

Veteran Owned Businesses to Compete in National Business Plan Competition in Charlotte, NC

2016 EBV National Training & Alumni Conference to feature the D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition

EBVNatConSYRACUSE, NY (January 22, 2016) – The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) announced today the ten semifinalists who will participate in the 2016 D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition that will take place at the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) National Training & Alumni Conference in Charlotte, NC, February 5-7.

The semifinalists consist of both established and aspiring veteran entrepreneurs who submitted formal small business plans for the chance to receive a share of more than $110,000 in available seed funding. Graduates of the EBV and EBV-Families programs were invited to submit business plans to be judged by a panel of independent experts with deep track records in entrepreneurship.

This year’s semifinalists are:

  • Leah Olzewski (Alabaster, AL), FEMTAC, LLC
  • Paul Kilgore (Evans Mills, NY), WAORGANY Brewing, LLC
  • Warren Foster (Colorado Springs, CO), Science Playhouse
  • Beulah Floyd (McDonough, GA), BRF Mobile Lube Plus, LLC
  • Denise Gee Uzzelle (Lancaster, TX), Starting Point Human Capital Advisors, LLC
  • Wayne Georgiana (Nashua, NH), Lil’ Jake’s Indoor Safety Village & Playground, LLC
  • Steven Richardson (Leesburg, FL), Superior Small Business Consultants, LLC
  • Ryan & Traci Ottosen (Glendora, CA), Ottosen & Co.
  • Aaron Sanders (Candler, NC), FondU Fundraising, LLC
  • Becky Watson (Norfolk, VA), Music for Wellness, LLC

These ten semifinalists will compete in a live competition, which will be held on February 6th at the Le Méridien Charlotte in Charlotte, NC. The top four from the Saturday February 6th competition will be selected to compete in the competition finals on Sunday February 7.

Thanks to the generosity of the D’Aniello Family Foundation and Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV), the winners will receive more than $110,000 in available seed funding, with additional awards presented for Best Social Venture, Most Innovative Venture, and the Arthur H. and Mary E. Wilson Top Venture Impacting Veterans award.  Almost 50 plans were submitted for the competition’s initial rounds of judging which has seen the field narrowed to just ten!

“Being a veteran and an entrepreneur myself, my goal in establishing the D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition was to help veteran entrepreneurs to help themselves by creating a growing business,” stresses Daniel A. D’Aniello, co-founder and Chairman of the Carlyle Group.

“The legacy of the Wilson family is one that will continue to be successful for current veterans and the next generation of veterans who will follow us,” says Marc Burgess, DAV CEO and National Adjutant. “In addition to all Art and his wife, Mary, have contributed to DAV, their name is remembered and used to address veteran employment, which is one of the most important issues facing the veteran community.”

“We are extremely appreciative of the generosity of the D’Aniello Family Foundation and DAV for enabling us to hold this year’s business plan competition,” said AJ Florkowski, the EBV National Program Director. “The National Conference business plan competition has become an integral part of our alumni event and allows us to both highlight the ventures of our graduates, while simultaneously presenting them with an opportunity to earn some much-needed funding for growing their ventures.”

Funded in part by a cooperative agreement between the IVMF and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the EBV is widely acclaimed as the nation’s premier veteran entrepreneurship training program. It has been recognized as a national best practice by the Department of the Army, and one of the 10 best entrepreneurship programs in the United States according to the editors of Inc. Magazine. EBV was featured on CBS News’ 60 Minutes in 2012; watch the feature “Succeeding as Civilians” at


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About the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV)

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) is a one-of-a-kind initiative that leverages the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities. The EBV opens the door to economic opportunity for veterans by developing their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. Founded at Syracuse University in 2007, the program has since expanded to nine additional universities across the U.S., including Texas A&M, Purdue University, UCLA, the University of Connecticut, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, Cornell University, Saint Joseph’s University, and the University of Missouri –with Syracuse University serving as national host.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF at


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