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Business Boot Camp

Free program teaches entrepreneurship to disabled veterans.

Robert Lee Aiken III planned to make the Marine Corps a career, but after he was shot in the foot in Iraq and medically retired, he wondered, What do I do now? The free Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) taught Aiken how to implement his ideas for helping other veteran business owners and for building his own company.

“The EBV program encouraged me, and the mentors have been so valuable,” said Aiken, a 2010 graduate of the program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School who was named its 2012 EBV Distinguished Alumnus. Aiken helped establish and lead the U.S. Veterans Chamber of Commerce (usvcc.com) in Plano, Texas, as it grew from a handful of business owners to more than 500, with chapters in five states and members nationwide. He also started a company providing firearms and tactical training.

John Raftery, a 2007 graduate of the first EBV program at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in New York, calls the EBV “a life-changer… the best program out there.” He has recommended it to other veterans, including Aiken. A Marine who also served in Iraq, Raftery started a contracting company—just him and his wife at first—that finishes the interiors of commercial and government buildings. The company’s revenue grew 2,800 percent from 2008 to 2011 and has 20-plus employees at projects spread among more than 15 states.

To prepare for the EBV program, which so far has 617 graduates nationwide, participants complete a one-month online course and draft a business plan. Then they travel to an EBV university for nine intensive days of workshops. They learn to write improved business plans, develop markets/customers and raise capital. Afterward, they receive one-on-one mentoring for a year. Sixty-nine percent of EBV graduates have launched their startups.

The program, offered to post-9/11 disabled veterans, also is held at UCLA, Florida State, Purdue, the University of Connecticut, Louisiana State and Cornell. See Whitman.syr.edu/ebv for details.

 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans program is currently offered by eight world-class institutions.

 

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

E. J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University

School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans program is currently offered by eight world-class institutions.

 

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 

E. J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University 

School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University 

 

- Nancy Mills Mackey 

Post date: 
Jan 10, 2013

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