During 2022, Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF/D’Aniello Institute) delivered 161 entrepreneurship training programs across the nation to more than 3,000 military-connected participants. One of those events, the annual Veteran EDGE conference, is among the largest convenings of established veteran and military spouse business owners in the United States.
Veteran EDGE (Engage, Develop, Grow, Elevate) convened in Dallas, Texas last month. Part of what makes the IVMF’s entrepreneurship events successful is leveraging University professors in the field of small business and entrepreneurship from the Whitman School of Management, along with many other professionals from around the country, to conduct the intensive training modules.
“Part of the reason why I get excited when IVMF asks me to teach their veteran populations is I get to show appreciation to the people who have sacrificed for the place I call home and help them become entrepreneurs in a way that translates their service into the greater good of their community,” says Elizabeth Wimer G’06, assistant teaching professor of entrepreneurship at Whitman, and the granddaughter of a World War II veteran who attended Syracuse University on the G.I. Bill.
Nearly 200 military-affiliated business owners attended the training event which featured keynote speakers, breakout sessions, discussion panels and fireside chats. The 2023 Inc. Magazine’s Vet100 list highlighting the fastest growing veteran-owned businesses was also announced during the event. In addition, at EDGE, ten companies were selected to receive $10,000 in capital thanks to the D’Aniello Family Foundation Acceleration Business Challenge created by Daniel D’Aniello ’68, U.S. Navy veteran, University Life Trustee and IVMF Advisory Board Co-Chair.
“Entrepreneurs are best positioned to drive change, bring innovation and new ideas to some of the most pressing challenges that we, as a country, face today. I’ve been privileged and honored to have the opportunity to watch entrepreneurship change the lives of students, families, and communities—and that’s what keeps me going,” says J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for Strategic initiatives and innovation, IVMF’s founder and executive director and Barnes professor of entrepreneurship.