Ted Lachowicz ’72 is a Whitman School alumnus specializing in real estate and venture capital. He is the founder and president of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Foundation, an organization that works with graduates from the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)’s nine EBV Consortium schools to help them start and build their businesses. Now, after 15 years of helping small business grow, the IVMF recently hosted its first EBV reunion at the new National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC) at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building. The reunion brought back Syracuse University, Cornell and Purdue program alums, who make up a portion of the 2,300 veterans to date who have started a business (of which 92% are still in business today) through EBV programming.
The event was sparked by Lachowicz’s challenge to program alumni to match a $20,000 donation to host the event. “It is easy to match $20,000 when you are in touch with the alumni constantly. Some of them I have been mentoring for 10 years,” he said. Four program alumni, Kelo Makelele, JJ Stakem, JT Taylor and Bennett Tanton, quickly matched the amount to make the reunion possible. “The entrepreneurship program gave me the tools and I see value in it that, which made me want to give back,” Tanton said.
The EBV Foundation itself is constantly finding new ways to engage with graduates of the EBV program. “The reason we are standing here is these people put their lives on the line to keep freedom in America,” Lachowicz said. “I cannot think of a better way to give back than by supporting our veterans.” The efforts to improve veteran entrepreneurs’ journeys include the EBV Foundation Business Plan Competition, working with EBV graduates to develop business plans, and providing mentors to participating veterans to assist in the development of their businesses. Each of these overlapping mission areas helps EBV graduate-owned businesses grow, and through the EBV Foundation’s philanthropic efforts they can raise funds to keep the programs running at each consortium university at no cost to participants.