The 24 veterans who completed a week of small business management training with Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School left Saturday armed with information, enthusiasm and commitment.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) July 15-22 provided valued skills to leverage post-9/11 military service in pursuit of business ownership.

This year’s program marks the 10th anniversary of EBV at Texas A&M. The new name – Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program – recognizes a $2 million dollar endowment provided by the Reynolds and Reynolds company to support EBV at Texas A&M. The gift is part of Texas A&M’s “Lead by Example” campaign that launched in 2016.

Some of the ventures were:

  • Keys to your City, a social media application developed by Jesse Simpson to connect veterans and help them adjust after reintegration
  • Coventry Medical Recruiting, a staffing company to Kevin Cross created to connect nurses, nurse practitioners with family practice healthcare providers
  • Titan Environmental Solutions, a company Maggie Peterson created to sell muscle walls, a low-density poly-ethylene structure
  • Corporate Hires Solutions, a staffing company created by Jason Hendricks
    Urgent Air Designs, an e-commerce site created by Todd Taylor that gives back 20 percent to the teams
  • 1st Quality Property Management, a property management company created by Charlie Moehlenbrock
  • Elemental Fitness and Wellness Clinic, a health and wellness clinic created by Megan Williams

Robert Burnett ’87, senior vice president of Reynolds & Reynolds, described the week’s long hours and hard work. “The quality of teaching and mentorship was incredible,” he said.

Burnett said he observed “extreme discipline” and “a commitment to task” in the participants, as well as the ability to adapt to a situation, or pivot. “They now have the opportunity to impact their community, state, nation,” he said before declaring them “fit for the job.”

The EBV was founded in 2007 at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, and has expanded to include 10 universities, including Mays Business School at Texas A&M. These 10 institutes of higher education deliver EBV to veterans who desire to develop the skills and tools needed to launch and maintain successful businesses. Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), corporate partners, foundations and private donors allow participants to attend the program cost-free.

EBV is a three-phase program, beginning with a three-week online instructor-led course where participants shape business plans and learn business language. During the second phase, participants complete an intensive eight-day residency at a university, 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 EBV Technical Assistance, managed by the IVMF.

The week in numbers:

  • 144 hours
  • 50 speakers/panelists
  • 39 hours in class
  • 12 hours with mentors
  • 59 pots of coffee
  • 87 Snickers
  • 432 bottles of water
  • 600+ slides