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March 26, 2015

See what happens when veterans and hockey players take on a different challenge: starting a business

See what happens when veterans and hockey players take on a different challenge: starting a business

EBV-Logo-(no-small-text---transparent)28 military veterans and 2 former National Hockey League players completed a rigorous entrepreneurship training boot camp at Syracuse University on March 14, gaining new skills in small business ownership.

During the 9th Annual Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, attendees received more than 80 hours of instruction from top professors, successful vetrepreneurs, and industry experts. Throughout their busy week, the students and staff took their excitement to Twitter using the hashtag #EBVSU. We decided to let them tell the story of their experience:

On March 7, the program kicked off with a heart wrenching speech by Clint Malarchuk, a former NHL hockey player who suffered a life threatening injury on the ice and had a hard time bouncing back. Malarchuk is an outspoken advocate for mental health care and participated in the EBV program as part of a pilot partnership between the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and the National Hockey League Alumni Association.


Chris Dambach, CEO and founder of Bacon Bandits and a former EBV graduate, received the Haydon Graduate of the Year award at the opening ceremony.


  After the kickoff ceremony, EBV students dove into intense instruction the next morning. IVMF’s co-founder and its Executive Director and Syracuse University Vice Chancellor of Veteran and Military Affairs Dr. Mike Haynie, worked with students and prepared them for the day ahead.

  Each day, participants heard from a number of instructors and successful entrepreneurs. Courses focused on legal issues, social media, branding, and human resources among other vital aspects of small business ownership.  

Throughout the week, students expressed their feelings of encouragement and excitement about the opportunities ahead.  


Dinosaur Bar-B-Que hosted the 9th Annual Barnes Family EBV class for a delicious meal during the program. Founder John Stage also shared some learned entrepreneurship lessons during a special lunch presentation.

  Every evening, the dedicated participants worked together after long days of instruction to develop and refine their venture pitches with a “genius bar” full of industry experts.  

  The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University was a gracious host to EBV SU, and Dean Kenneth A. Kavajecz took the opportunity to share advice with students.


During the final day of the program, participants and staff expressed their feelings about EBV. When the program began, the group saw each other as strangers, but at the end of the week they saw each other as family.


  The program ended with an exciting graduation ceremony. Steve Szwec, an EBV SU participant received the Marvin Malikow Award for his enthusiasm and dedication during the program. John Bardis, Founder, Former Chairman, President and CEO of MedAssets, ended the evening with a keynote speech before participants walked the stage and officially became graduates.

Overall, EBV graduates were eager to learn, happy to network, and looking forward to getting down to business. We’re excited to welcome them into our EBV family and network of mentors and supporters.


For more information about Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, or to apply, visit:

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