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Whitman School holds second round of successful Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

July 21, 2008

Amy Mehringer
(315) 443-3834

Amy Mehringer

The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University will hold the second annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), beginning on July 26. Fifteen veterans representing 10 states and all four branches of the U.S. military and ranging in age from 24-60 will come to the SU campus to participate in cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small business management in order to start or grow their own businesses. The veterans, who have all served post-9/11 in Afghanistan or Iraq, will learn a range of business skills, including accounting, human resources, supply chain, operations, strategy and more from world-class faculty, entrepreneurs, disability experts and business professionals. The program is entirely free, including travel and accommodations.

The EBV was created by the Whitman School in 2007 and in 2008 was expanded into a nationwide partnership with UCLA Anderson School of Management, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and Florida State University's College of Business. From 20 participants in 2007, the program has now impacted the lives of more than 80 U.S. soldiers wounded as a result of their service to the United States.

"The year 2008 marks seven years since our troops first entered into conflict in Afghanistan, and five years since the conflict began in Iraq," says Melvin T. Stith, dean of the Whitman School and a former Vietnam War-era Army captain. "American men and women are returning home from military service, many disabled, only to find fewer and fewer opportunities in the workplace. The EBV is a step toward providing them with the skills and knowledge to create their own opportunities. The Whitman School is proud to lead the consortium of outstanding business schools in this endeavor."

The EBV program is offered in three phases. Phase I is a self-study session in which the veterans complete courses through online discussions moderated by university faculty. Phase II requires that participants travel to their participating EBV university, where they will become immersed in a nine-day residency program. Some of the country's most prominent entrepreneurship academics, business leaders and experts in disability issues come together to offer these veterans an unparalleled experience designed to start them on the path to small business ownership. Phase III involves 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship provided to the veterans from the faculty experts at the EBV universities. Throughout the EBV experience, students engage in experimental workshops to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers and develop a marketing strategy that is most effective for their business model.

"Last year, with the pilot program here at Whitman, we served 20 wounded veterans," says Mike Haynie, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, creator and director of the EBV and a former U.S. Air Force major. "This year, with the expansion to three other business schools, many more veterans will be equipped to enter the marketplace and create and build their dreams. Giving opportunities like this to a group so deserving is consistent with the social mission of America's colleges and universities."

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