After Chris Dambach ’13 returned from his deployment as a U.S. Marine in Iraq in 2010, he decided to start a business, Veteran Lawn Care. He invested in some used mowers and borrowed a truck from his brother-in-law. He grew the business steadily, starting with residential lawn service, then adding tree removal, snow removal and janitorial services.
In 2012, Dambach attended an event at a local community college called Operation Startup and Grow, where he met a representative from Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and learned about the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV). “I was naive,” he says. “I had already had my first government contract. I said, ‘I know what I’m doing.’” But after researching EBV online, he decided to attend.
“It changed the entire landscape of my company,” says Dambach, who graduated from the program in 2013. EBV was founded at Syracuse University in 2007 to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans. “I walked away with a greater knowledge of running a business—what a business plan was, profits and losses, balance sheets, cash flow statements and how taxes worked.”