Written by: Jenny Hale
Half of United States citizens work in a small business or own one themselves and two-thirds of every new job created is by a small business, according to the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development.
In the next five years, more than one million military soldiers will be returning to the civilian work force after ending their military careers as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down. The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) is prepared to help these transitioning servicemembers and veterans find a foothold to living the American Dream through business ownership.
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) was started by Air Force veteran, Mike Haynie, in 2007 when he was an entrepreneurship professor at the Whitman School of Management. Haynie has since founded the IVMF and was recently appointed to the position of Vice Chancellor of Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University. SU serves as the national host of the EBV Consortium of schools which is comprised of 8 partner universities across the U.S. In 2009, the program was named the “National Best Practice” for serving veterans by the Secretary of the Army.
“EBV is an entrepreneurship training program for post-9/11 servicemembers with service-connected disabilities,” said Katie Frontino, the National Program Coordinator for EBV and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Families (EBV-F). “The program is motivating, inspiring and a lot of hard work, but the EBV programs are incredibly rewarding for those who participate.”
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Families is offered to military family members or to a surviving spouse of a military member who gave his or her life in service. EBV-F is currently offered at Syracuse University and Florida State University.
“EBV-F is very similar to EBV,” Frontino said. “It expands the program to primary care givers of disabled veterans. The programs truly change the lives of the students.”
Boots to Business
In 2011, Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup (B2B) was created at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families in conjunction with the Small Business Administration. It is part of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) – now called Transition GPS – the required program for all service members leaving the military. Boots to Business is one of the program tracks that can be taken as part of the TAP service. View the promotional video here.
Boots to Business is a three-step training program developed to introduce and train transitioning servicemembers to business ownership. Boots to Business helps ensure that every transitioning service member has access to a standardized entrepreneurship training track and small business resources in their local communities. After completing Boots to Business, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local small business resources, and launch their small business
“One of the best parts of this program is that you can take it while you’re stationed overseas or deployed. That makes the course even that much more challenging and gratifying to complete,” said Richelle Ward, Program Coordinator for Boots to Business.
If you are a transitioning servicemember (or spouse/partner) interested in the Boots to Business entrepreneurship track, please contact your on base TAP coordinator or reach out to a SBA district office.
To learn more about IVMF programs, visit their website at www.vets.syr.edu.
Jenny Hale is currently a Public Relations graduate student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Hale is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management with degrees in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Her minor is in Native American Studies. Hale has spent time volunteering at the VA Hospital and is an active military and veteran supporter. She is currently a public relations and marketing intern at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.