My father was a career Air Force officer who fought in World War II and the Korean War, and then ran top secret spy plane programs for one of those 3-letter government agencies. I was always proud to be an Air Force brat, and I have a deep-abiding respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country. I was therefore very pleased to find out that the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) exists, and that it is making a big difference in the lives of many disabled veterans — and their families and loved ones.
Started by Mike Haynie, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and emerging enterprise at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management (and a former Air Force major), the EBV offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The EBV is designed to open the door to business ownership for veterans by 1) developing skills in the many steps and activities associated with launching and growing a small business, and by 2) helping leverage programs and services for veterans and people with disabilities in a way that furthers entrepreneurial dreams.
Currently, six business schools across the nation are participating in the program:
- The Whitman School of Management
- UCLA Anderson School of Management
- Florida State University’s College of Business
- Mays Business School at Texas A&M
- The Krannert School of Management at Purdue University
- The University of Connecticut School of Business
The program is divided into three phases:
- Phase I: A self-study curriculum facilitated by online discussion and assessment.
- Phase II: A nine-day residency at one of the six EBV business schools, including experiential workshops lessons from entrepreneurship faculty.
- Phase III: 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship from faculty experts at the EBV business schools.
Participation in the EBV is free to disabled veterans, including travel, food, and lodging, and each summer there are more than 100 positions available. Marine Corps veteran John Rafferty started a successful business — Patriot Material Handling, in Midlothian, Texas — after participating in the program. Says Rafferty, "The whole experience was entrepreneurial-like. You were learning about it and also doing it. It was challenging." And, apparently, rewarding.
If you’re a disabled veteran who would like to start your own business, or you know someone who qualifies, then be sure to check out the EBV website for more information.