Entrepreneurship is an increasing trend among military veteran men and women recently returning to the civilian workforce. Veteran start-up businesses have cropped up more frequently in recent years, as many discover that the skills they gained while serving are well suited for the high-intensity environment of business ownership. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program is specifically designed to train those that choose this path in all aspects of business ownership. Three participating universities from the EBV Consortium of schools will host the EBV program this fall: Cornell University, the EBV’s first specialty program in hospitality, food and beverage, from Sept. 28-Oct. 5; the University of Connecticut from Oct. 3-13; and Purdue University from Nov. 1-9.
In a fluctuating economy, business ownership holds the potential for financial stability, while simultaneously allowing owners to mold their schedules around their own lifestyles, as well as that of their families. This flexibility and opportunity for success is a large part of what makes the idea of business ownership so attractive, allowing veterans the chance to re-enter the civilian workforce on their own terms.
Attractive as it might be, the path of the entrepreneur is not an easy one, and it takes a particular personality type to succeed in this endeavor. Starting and maintaining a business requires a certain amount of persistence and a goal-oriented mindset which is characteristic of military service members; this is viewed as being one of the many reasons why so many veterans have decided to make their own way in their transition, rather than attempting to fit their skills to the needs of an already existing company.
The creators of the EBV program have recognized this potential for success among military veterans, and have designed its curriculum accordingly. EBV seeks to provide military veterans with the cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small-business management they need to make their dreams of owning a business a reality. Originally offered by Syracuse University beginning in 2007, EBV has since expanded to include seven additional major universities across the U.S. Each session of the program is offered at no cost to post-9/11 veterans who have been disabled by their service.
During their residency at one of the participating universities, veterans will be exposed to accomplished entrepreneurs, academics, disability experts and business leaders from across the country. 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 community in which each university is located. Each EBV program session will conclude with a graduation ceremony and awards presentation for standout business plans.
By the end of 2013, more than 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 the creation of these businesses, 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 at Syracuse University (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; the College of Business at Florida State University; the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University; the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University; the School of Business at the University of Connecticut; the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University; and the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The IVMF is the first national center 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.Visit vets.syr.edu for more information. Follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, VetNet and LinkedIn.