Written by: Mirza Tihic
Academic research focused on the characteristics of successful innovators and entrepreneurs highlights strong self-efficacy, a high need for achievement, comfort with autonomy and uncertainty, and effective decision-making in the face of dynamic environments as their common factors. Across multiple studies, research illustrates that these same attributes are also generally characteristic of military service members and veterans. For example, research focused on the current all-volunteer force suggests that those who are drawn to military service are individuals with a high need for achievement. Further, military training and socialization processes have been demonstrated to instill high levels of self-efficacy, trust, a strong sense of comfort with autonomy, and dynamic decision-making processes. These attributes, as they are linked to entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset among military veterans, have been consistently demonstrated in practice. According to multiple studies commissioned by the U.S. Small Business Administration and others, military veterans are twice as likely than non-veterans to pursue business ownership after leaving service, and the five-year success rate of ventures owned by veterans is significantly higher than the national average.
In order to tap into this entrepreneurial potential, the members of veterans and military community need to learn how to translate and transition their military experiences into the entrepreneurial practice. Syracuse University (SU) takes great care to deliver quality programs in these areas. Here are 10 that make SU “Entrepreneurship Heaven” for veterans and military service members:
Undergraduate degrees at Whitman School of Management (WSOM): WSOM offers both majors and minors in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE) to all students across the SU campus. The EEE program at SU is unique as it is only program in the country that offers four different entrepreneurship tracks: New Venture, Corporate Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Family Business. The undergraduate program is ranked #9 by US News & World Report.
Graduate degrees at Whitman School of Management (WSOM): WSOM offers Masters in Entrepreneurship, MBA for Veterans with concentration in Entrepreneurship (14-month accelerated program), and MBA@Syracuse, a hybrid online and short residency program that offers several concentrations including entrepreneurship. The graduate programs in Entrepreneurship at SU are ranked #17 by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator for Student Startups (a.k.a. IDEA Syracuse): As part of Academic Affairs under the SU umbrella, IDEA is a catalyst for a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem on the SU campus. IDEA connects students with ideas to the resources they need to move those ideas forward.
Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship: The outreach arm of Whitman School of Management’s Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises department. The Falcone Center is run by Terry Brown, a successful entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and former US Marine. It provides the resources and mindset for creating new ventures, new products, and new methods through a variety of innovative programs and initiatives, such as the Panasci Business Plan Competition, D’Aniello Entrepreneurial Internship, student incubator (Couri Hatchery), and the Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club).
Minor in Information Technology, Design & Startups at the School Information Studies: This unique minor is combination of courses across the SU campus. The minor is taught by faculty members who approach entrepreneurship from multi-disciplinary perspectives, as well as a team of community partners and mentors who can help make the right connections to jump-start a startup.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV): SU’s Whitman School of Management is the home of the world class entrepreneurship program for veterans. The EBV is the continuation of SU’s historic commitment to veterans’ causes to serve those who have served by offering high quality entrepreneurship training and continuous technical assistance. The impact and quality of EBV has received great recognition. In 2009 the EBV program was named a “National Best Practice” for serving veterans and their families by the Secretary of the Army and in 2011 Inc. Magazine named the EBV program as one of the “10-Best” entrepreneurship programs in the United States.
Veteran Women Ignite the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE): Another world-class program by Whitman School of Management for veterans, particularly female veterans. V-WISE is committed to women Veterans by providing them the tools to become successful entrepreneurs. V-WISE integrates female veterans’ leadership, integrity, focus and drive into a premier educational training program taught by accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the United States.
Syracuse Student Sandbox: A community-wide entrepreneurial effort, the Student Sandbox is a unique business incubator that gives aspiring student entrepreneurs the resources to make their visions a reality. The program is designed for students from Upstate NY and has included students from: Syracuse University, Cayuga Community College, Le Moyne College, Morrisville State College, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Clarkson University, Cornell, UMASS, Columbia, Monroe Community College, Utica College, SUNY Oswego, Full Sail University, Binghamton University, RIT, and Onondaga Community College. The Student Sandbox provides an extended entrepreneurial network and access to community and national resources.
South Side Innovation Center (SSIC): As Syracuse University’s inner city business incubator, the SSIC provides services and facilities to current and emerging entrepreneurs and businesses in Syracuse, NY. Their services include office space and equipment, intensive hands-on training and counseling, roundtables, networking, classroom courses, business plan development, access to loans, marketing assistance, and help in opening markets – all in an energized environment of entrepreneurial activity. The SSIC is equipped and its staff is trained to accommodate veterans and veteran owned businesses.
Student Veteran Resources: In order to leverage some or all of these resources and programs Syracuse University recognizes that the veterans have other needs and requirements that need to be addressed. Hence, Syracuse University has continued its efforts to increase the number of resources available to address the challenges and barriers that members of veterans and military community face and has made available numerous programs and initiatives that will enable this community to foster and grow at Syracuse. Some of these resources are the Veterans Resource Center, Student Veterans Club, Freshman Forum, VetSuccess, and many more.