Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Designated ‘Best Practice’

February 26, 2009

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Receives National ‘Best Practice’ Designation

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Army Community Covenant (ACC) program of the Department of the Army has recognized the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Program (EBV) as a “National Best Practice” in serving soldiers and their families. The ACC is a Secretary of the Army initiative designed to identify, highlight and direct soldiers and their families to programs sponsored for their benefit to assist in the transition from military to civilian life. On the national level, the EBV program is currently one of only four such programs in the employment category to be recognized as a best practice by the Department of the Army.

The Army’s Community Covenant program is designed to promote partnerships that support the strength and resilience of soldiers and their families. This same sentiment embodies the founding intent of the EBV program and the EBV Consortium of Schools.

The EBV was first introduced in 2007 by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and in 2008 expanded nationally into the EBV Consortium of Schools. In 2009, the EBV will be offered by the College of Business at Florida State University, Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. The program is offered without any cost to eligible and accepted veterans, and is funded through the private gifts of alumni, entrepreneurs, corporations and business leaders from across the United States.

“We are honored to be recognized as a program of distinction by the Army Community Covenant,” says Mike Haynie, a former U.S. Air Force officer turned assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Whitman School and founder of the EBV program. “Because we at Whitman wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship is a means through which our veterans can, quite literally, own their futures, we are pleased to see that the ACC concurs with this viewpoint.”

The EBV is an educational initiative positioned to offer training in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business ownership to U.S. military members disabled as a result of their military service in post-9/11 conflicts. Entrepreneurship and small business ownership represent a means for veterans with service-connected disabilities to overcome barriers to traditional employment and realize an honorable and meaningful future for themselves and their families.

“It makes sense that the EBV program received this distinction,” says Melvin T. Stith, dean of the Whitman School and a former captain in the U.S. Army. “SU has a long history of supporting veterans through education, beginning in 1946 with our former chancellor, who opened the doors for veterans returning from World War II. The EBV is the most recent initiative at SU to provide resources to veterans, and we are pleased that our long and continued support is recognized by the ACC.”

The EBV program focuses on practical training in the tools of new venture creation and growth, reflecting issues unique to disability and public benefits programs. Through experiential workshops and lessons from world-class entrepreneurship faculty, EBV participants learn how to write business plans, raise capital and attract customers.

“I don’t think there has been a day where a decision came up and something from EBV didn’t play a part in my decision–always for the better,” says Roy Murray, a 2007 EBV graduate and a combat-disabled veteran. “This is why the EBV is so valuable: It encompasses all the major topics related to running a business and can take a disabled combat vet and make him or her independent.” Today, Murray owns and operates a small business in Washington, D.C.

“Universities have the capacity to changes lives, and we are leveraging that capacity with the EBV,” says Caryn Beck-Dudley, dean of the College of Business at FSU. “In our time of need, service men and women answered the call. Now as they need us; they are having a tough time getting anyone to listen. This program is answering their call.”

The EBV Consortium of Schools represents one of the first significant partnerships since WWII among some of the U.S.’s most prestigious business schools focused specifically on opening the doors of America’s colleges and universities to veterans motivated by business ownership.

“We are extremely proud and honored to be a partner in EBV,” says Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University and Mays Business School. “This program aligns so well into what we hold as core values: selfless service; loyalty; leadership, integrity, excellence and respect.”