Participants to converge on campus for intensive eight-day residency to learn the ‘nuts and bolts’ of business ownership

On July 11, 21 disabled veterans converged on the Texas A&M University campus to expand on the traits (resilience, focus and leadership) they developed in the military, and learn the basics of business ownership during the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). It was the eighth at Texas A&M.

Hosted in partnership between the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and Mays Business School at Texas A&M, the EBV helps post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities develop skills and tools needed to launch and maintain successful businesses.

The results are in for graduates of the national EBV program:

  • 1,130 EBV graduates have become entrepreneurs;
  • $196 million (and growing) in revenue has been generated by EBV graduate businesses;
  • 68% of EBV graduates have started their own businesses; 92% of those are still in business today;
  • 1 out of every 4 EBV graduate businesses grosses over $100,000/year;
  • 72 – The average number of people employed by an EBV graduate;
  • EBV graduate businesses currently employ 1,886 people

The EBV is a three-phase program, beginning with a three-week online instructor-led course. Participants have already begun to shape business plans and learn business language during the online phase. During the second phase, participants will complete an intensive nine-day residency at Texas A&M, learning the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership from established entrepreneurs and educators. Following the residency, EBV graduates will receive access to a year-long support and mentorship program through the EBV Technical Assistance Program.

The speaker at the July 11 opening ceremony will be April Ames-Chase, a member of the EBV Class of 2014. Mentoring sessions will be held early in the week, then the veterans will present their business plan pitches on July 18. Closing ceremonies will be that evening, with guest speaker retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Todd Nelson.

Richard Lester, director of the Texas A&M EBV, says it offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines disabled as a result of their service supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. “This program fits exceptionally well at Texas A&M, where we have a rich military history and have been recognized for being one of the top military friendly schools,” he said. “It is a great way to give back to our veterans by utilizing our network of experts.”

The program was launched at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in 2007. Since the original class, the IVMF has expanded EBV to nine additional universities throughout the U.S., including Texas A&M. Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, corporate partners and donors allows post-9/11 veterans and transitioning service members with service-connected disabilities to attend the program cost-free.

“EBV has produced more than 1,100 graduates since 2007, with 68 percent having launched a new venture after completing the EBV program,” said Tina Kapral, director of residency programs at IVMF. “The IVMF at Syracuse University is excited to work with Texas A&M again to support our nation’s veterans and help them create and maintain their own small businesses.”

Details specific to the EBV at Texas A&M program can be found at https://mays.tamu.edu/center-for-new-ventures-and-entrepreneurship/about-ebv-at-texas-am/. More information on the nationwide EBV program can be found at http://vets.syr.edu/education/ebv/.