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Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Instruction, Inspiration - and a Path to Business Ownership

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by Jane Weber Brubaker, Contributing Writer

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Article Sponsored by: Lipscomb University, Firehouse Subs

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Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Empowers Veterans With DisabilitiesFinding Common Ground

The program is divided into three phases. Each class of 20-25 veterans begins by taking a month-long online course. Classes may be made up of individuals whose backgrounds and education levels are extremely varied, and the online component serves to get everyone on the same page.

Phase 2 is the heart of the program, the nine-day, in-person bootcamp at one of the eight sponsoring universities. Relating his experience at FSU, Martinez says, “It made me realize I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one who was confused and frustrated.” Describing his week, he says, “It’s a literally a crash course. You’re getting all four years of business school crammed into a few days.”

The last phase of the program is 12 months of ongoing support that connects prospective entrepreneurs with industry-related mentors, helping them continue to shape and solidify their business concepts and identify and overcome barriers to entry. During this phase, EBV also provides pro-bono business services including logo design, website design and hosting, tax, legal and accounting services.

The application process for entry into the program is rigorous and competitive: 25 percent of applicants are accepted. “Prior education is not a deciding factor,” Lyon says. “It’s that fire in the belly for entrepreneurship, that desire, come Hell or high water, whether or not I’m accepted into EBV, I’m going to start a business.”

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp empowers veterans with disabilities to take control of their lives through business ownership. It also helps other veterans by providing employment opportunities. “The cool thing about this program is that you get a vet who opens up a business, that vet understands how the military community works, and now they hire another vet,” Martinez says. “You help close the gap of that unemployment ratio that exists among the military that is very high.”

Is entrepreneurship for you? For further information about EBV and how to apply, visit vets.syr.edu/ebv.

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