Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities celebrates fifth year

Features keynotes by U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Ray Jefferson and legendary high school basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr.

On Saturday, July 16, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University will welcome a new class of 25 veterans to the fifth annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). Offered each year since 2007, the EBV program is designed to provide cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small-business management to post-9/11 vets with disabilities, to assist them in pursuing the American dream of business ownership. Since its inception, the program has been offered without any cost to veterans disabled as a consequence of their military service.

Offered in three phases of training, the EBV program is designed to provide veterans with the skills necessary to successfully launch and grow a new business. Through online courses, an intense residency experience and 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship, veterans learn how to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers and develop a marketing strategy.

The EBV was created at Whitman in 2007, and is now offered through a network of seven world-class business schools that includes Whitman, the College of Business at Florida State University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, the Krannert School at Purdue University, the School of Business at the University of Connecticut and the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University. More than 150 veterans will receive training at EBV consortium schools over the next eight months.

The EBV program is widely acclaimed as the premier entrepreneurship training program for veterans in the nation, recognized as a “National Best Practice” by the Department of the Army for serving soldiers and their families. In 2011, the editors of Inc. magazine named the EBV one of the “10 Best” entrepreneurship programs in the United States. More than 350 veterans from across the United States have graduated from the EBV since 2007, and to date graduates have created more than 170 new businesses.

The Syracuse University EBV Class of 2011 includes 22 men and three women veterans, ranging in age from 21-55 years old. All branches of the uniformed military services are represented in this year’s class, including veterans of the National Guard and Reserve. During their eight-day residency at the Whitman School, veterans will be exposed to accomplished entrepreneurs, academics, disability experts and business leaders from across the United States. The residency experience is intense; a typical workday begins at 7:30 a.m., and ends at 10 p.m. The residency concludes on July 23.

“I am truly honored to welcome the newest members of the EBV family to the Whitman School and the SU campus. Since we launched the EBV five years ago, the program continues to grow, largely because of the successes of our graduates. Today, 17 of the 20 veterans that attended the very first EBV are successful business owners,” says Whitman Dean Melvin T. Stith, a Vietnam era veteran. “Everyone at Whitman is blessed to be part of an experience that is positioned to assist our vets in making the transition from military to civilian life, in the most American way possible—through business ownership. We are grateful for all of these individuals, and our corporate partners—PepsiCo and Walmart—who have provided support so that EBV training continues to be offered without any cost to our veterans, who deserve nothing less than the full support of the nation they so honorably defended.”

“2011 marks five years since the EBV began on our campus, and a decade since U.S. troops first entered into overseas conflict after 9/11,” says Mike Haynie, founder of the EBV program, executive director of the newly created Institute for Veterans and Military Families at SU, and Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Whitman School. “As an Air Force veteran myself, in my mind there is no group more deserving of the opportunity to live the American dream of business ownership than those men and women who once put on a uniform and swore an oath to defend that dream. The EBV has been higher education’s answer to providing our nation’s wounded warriors transitioning from military to civilian life the skills and knowledge necessary to help them create their own opportunities as entrepreneurs in the marketplace. The Whitman School is proud to continue to lead the EBV consortium in this important endeavor.”

To create the disability-related curriculum and assist participants in understanding and leveraging programs at the intersection of disability and entrepreneurship, the EBV program is offered in collaboration with SU’s Burton Blatt Institute, which seeks to advance the civic, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities. In addition to their classwork, EBV Veterans will hear from many notable speakers during their eight-day stay at the Whitman School.

jeffersonServing as the keynote at the EBV opening event on the evening of July 16 is Ray Jefferson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). In his role at the Department of Labor, Jefferson serves as the national advocate for veteran employment, responsible for providing veterans and service members with resources and services to succeed in the 21st century workforce. The mission of VETS is to maximize employment opportunities and protect employment rights of the nation’s veterans by meeting labor-market demands with qualified vets. Jefferson, a wounded veteran himself, will speak to the EBV cohort about his own experiences transitioning from military service, as well as the U.S. government response to the issues and challenges faced by veterans with disabilities.

hurleyThe EBV graduation takes place on Saturday evening, July 23. The speaker will be legendary high school basketball coach Robert “Bob” Hurley Sr. Recently, the subject of CBS “60 Minutes” feature story, Hurley has been head coach of the St. Anthony’s High School boys’ basketball team in Jersey City, N.J., for 38 years. With a career record of 1,017–110, he is one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in U.S. history. He has captured 26 state parochial titles, and moved into the national record books with 25 all-time state titles and six undefeated seasons in 2008. Hurley achieved his 1,000th win on Feb. 2 of this year. He has been named the USA Today “National High School Coach of the Year “three times, coached the McDonald’s All-American Game in 1988, the first NIKE Hoop Summit Game in 1995 and was the first-ever recipient of the 2008 “Naismith National High School Coach of the Year Award.” In August 2010, he was the third high school coach in history to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Throughout his years coaching, Hurley has mentored more than 150 players who have accepted scholarships to college. Five of his players have gone on to the NBA. Hurley’s successes extend beyond the basketball court as a highly motivated and involved community leader. The lifelong impact he has had on the thousands of students he has mentored in 38 years at St. Anthony’s is the subject of the best-selling book “The Miracle of St. Anthony” (Penguin Group, 2006), and an award-winning documentary, “The Street Stops Here.” Hurley will share lessons about teamwork and perseverance with the veterans, two qualities important to their new careers as entrepreneurs.

The EBV program is operated at the Whitman School with support from SU’s newly created Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). The IVMF, founded with support from JPMorgan Chase, is the first national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post service. Focusing on educational programming, employment and actionable research, 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. For more information, or to apply to the EBV, visit http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv.


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