Written By: Charlotte Moore, EBV-F-FSU, Class of 2013
During the last part of February, I left my husband and two young children at home in northern Virginia and joined a class of 13 other women as a part of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F) program at Florida State University. I walked through the doors as a military spouse juggling a two-year-old business and two young children, with too few resources and too little time with my active duty husband. While I still balance my long work hours with caring for my children and trying to plan the occasional date night with my husband, because of this amazing program I am now building my business with a full arsenal of resources at my disposal.
To EBV-F I brought my existing business, MyActiveChild.com, a website that provides local information and resources for families in Hampton Roads, Va. As I began building MyActiveChild.com, knowing the impermanent nature of military life, I designed the business so that it could be run from anywhere in the country, or the world. Two years into this project, I suddenly realized I was treading water, unsure of which direction I wanted to move and lacking the business background I needed to make the best decisions. Enter EBV-F.
The EBV and EBV-F programs (operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and offered through the EBV National Consortium) are designed to educate military veterans and family members and help grow and foster their entrepreneurial spirit. We worked on business plans, financial management, market research, when to outsource, how to find our personal balance and so much more.
I left the residency portion of the EBV-F program with more ideas and opportunity than I could have possibly imagined. The program packed a full load of business fundamentals into just nine days and taught us prioritized details on a large variety of topics designed to help us succeed as entrepreneurs. I discovered basics that needed to be revisited (that pesky business plan), new ideas and resources for marketing and finance, pros and cons of franchising, my preferred leadership style and other elements to nurture my entrepreneurial process.
“Inspiring” is just the first word I would use to describe my EBV-F experience so far. In the time we have been home, my classmates and I have continued to be in almost constant communication. We have created a community to cheer each other on, and to help each other along this journey. We are inspired. We are overwhelmed with possibilities. We are moving forward. We are not finished with EBV-F, or with our collective business growth. In both areas, we have only just begun.
The third phase of the EBV-F program provides a different level of support. Mentorship opportunities, assistance with technology, logo design, legal advice…. the support is tremendous. I am excited for the possibilities this program has made possible for my family and my business. I would encourage any veteran or military family member who qualifies for either the EBV or EBV-F program, and who feels that pull towards entrepreneurship, to explore what these programs can offer them. I can’t promise, “if you build it they will come,” but I can promise that if you write a business plan, conduct the market research, learn the necessary financials and decide you have a viable product- all tasks the EBV programs teach you- these programs will support you well beyond your first day of business.
Charlotte Moore is the founder and CEO of MyActiveChild.com LLC, an online resource for families living in Hampton Roads, Va. She is a military spouse with two young children and a graduate of EBV-Families at Florida State University.