If you read yesterday’s post, you know how I feel about Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). Thankfully, the efforts of those committed individuals don’t stop at the V-WISE program. In fact, V-WISE is one of the more recent additions to their veteran-friendly repertoire. The original brainchild of former Air Force officer and PhD Mike Haynie is the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities or EBV.
EBV was started in 2007 at Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management and has since expanded to include multiple universities across the country, including such titans of education as Cornell, Texas A&M, and UCLA. In 2009, it was named a “National Best Practice” by the Secretary of the Army. Then, in 2011, it was named one of the top 10 entrepreneurial training programs in the US by Inc. Magazine. It has produced over 700 graduates, several of whom now run businesses with annual revenues at or above one million dollars.
Ok, so I’ve told you how great it is, now what is it? EBV is an intensive training program designed for veterans (including Guard and Reserve members) who served after 2001 and who have service-connected disabilities and have/are interested in starting their own businesses. It not only provides the participant with a skill set of proven business tactics, techiniques, and procedures, but also connects service-disabled veterans with resources that were specifically designed to both encourage them to pursue small business ownership and help them remain successful at it. Similar to the V-WISE set-up, EBV comes in three parts.
Phase I consists of a 30-day online training and interaction with business faculty from the participating universities, with a focus on honing in on your individual business idea. Phase II consists of nine days (80 hours!) of workshops, guest lectures, and networking opportunities. Workshops and lectures will include such topics as marketing methods, developing a business plan, start-up costs, and other key business topics. This phase takes place in residence at one of the participating universities. Phase III is a 12-month follow-up mentoring phase, where participants will receive continued support from the EBV universities and partners. And, the best part, it helps you do it for free. Unlike other IVMF programs, which cover most costs, EBV covers all a veteran’s costs, including travel, lodging, and meals.
To apply, you need to complete the full application and submit your resume, two letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your drive, determination, and ability to succeed, and proof of your VA disability rating or, for those servicemembers currently in the transition process, proof that you have requested a disability rating. The application itself is easy to complete (I did a test drive) and asks for such details as your education background, any special accommodations you may need, what your specific business idea is, and why you should be considered for the program. Application is done on a rolling, or first-come, first-served, basis so you should apply early. However, this is a competitive program so take the time to put together the best application you can.
Whether you want to start a trucking company or a catering business, buy a franchise, or open a youth hostel in South America, EBV can help you get there. In fact, all of those examples I just gave are goals that have been accomplished by previous EBV graduates. But don’t just take my word for it. See what Marty Skovlund Jr, former Ranger, 2013 EBV graduate, and owner of Blackside Concepts, has to say about his experience at EBV. http://hitthewoodline.com/inside-blackside/2013/7/22/syracuse-university-entrepreneur-bootcamp-for-veterans-days-1-2, http://hitthewoodline.com/inside-blackside/2013/7/23/syracuse-university-entrepreneur-bootcamp-for-veterans-day-3 (One tiny disclaimer: I read through a few of the other posts on this blog and I thought they were pretty darn funny and insightful but, the vets who run the “Hit the Woodline” blog are all Ranger/Special Ops types and they use salty language and aren’t afraid to sound off on issues, so if you’re easily offended, stick to the posts about the EBV.)
One final note: Syracuse and Florida State Universities also offer an EBV version for families, called EBV-F. This version teaches similar skill sets to those taught in the original EBV version as well as topics on caregiving and how to combine the two roles. As with EBV, this program is offered at no cost to the participants and is offered in the three phase format mentioned above. It is open to wounded warrior caregivers (spouse, parent, child, etc.), surviving spouses and adult children, as well as active duty spouses, of veterans who served after 2001. Application requirements are the same as for EBV.
The full list of participating colleges, as well as further details about the programs, upcoming program dates, and the application can be found at: http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv/about/.
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