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Whitman School of Management launches entrepreneurship training program for military family members

November 04, 2010

Ray Toenniessen
(315) 443-0256

The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, with support from Ernst & Young, has announced the inaugural Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans' Families program (EBV-F), which will commence on the campus of Syracuse University beginning Nov. 7.

ebvModeled after the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a similar initiative first launched at SU in 2007, the EBV Families program is offered without any cost to participants. The EBV Families program represents a novel and innovative educational initiative designed to leverage the flexibility inherent in self-employment to personally and professionally empower military family members. Military families face daunting challenges in maintaining a stable home life, while supporting a family member who has transitioned to civilian life with significant and enduring disabilities resulting from military service.

The EBV Families program consists of a four-week online course, followed by a week-long residency program at SU, and then 12 months of small business mentorship. The program is open to military family members who now find themselves in a full-time caregiver role for a wounded warrior, and also to the surviving spouse of a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who lost their life in service to the country.

“The U.S. is welcoming home more veterans with serious disabilities than at any other time in our country’s history. Many of these men and women will depend on the support of their families, both in terms of managing the activities of daily living, and also financially,” says Mike Haynie, director and founder of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans program and assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Eighteen caregivers and military family members will participate in the inaugural program, including:

  • Leyda Rivera, from Canovanas, Puerto Rico: Rivera’s husband was severely injured during a mortar attack while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has required more than 18 surgeries throughout his recovery. Rivera has always had a passion for business ownership and hopes that the EBV-F program will give her the tools she needs to support her family. “This is my time to step up to the plate and take charge of the future,” says Rivera.
  • Nelida Bagley from Tampa, Fla.: Bagley is the mother of Jose Poqueno, an Army staff sergeant who was severely injured while deployed to Iraq in 2006. Poqueno suffered severe traumatic brain injury and lost use of the left side of his brain during an IED attack. Bagley and her family provide 24-hour care for Poqueno and are responsible for everything that contributes to his well-being. Bagley hopes she can take the knowledge that she gains from the EBV-F program, and pair it with her experiences as a caregiver, to lessen the burdens on fellow caregivers through a venture that offers resources and networks for the community of caregivers.
  • Kristin Grubb from Louisville, Ky.: Grubb is the wife of Brian, who lost his right eye in June 2004 and has endured more than 10 surgeries at multiple hospitals. Although Brian can drive, Kristin must be in the vehicle, and takes an active role with helping him to judge traffic, distances, etc. Kristin says that through opportunity and dedication, anyone can learn a skill to better their lives and that of the community in which they live. She hopes to use her strong sense of dedication and the skills she will learn in EBV-F to open a café to not only benefit her family, but her entire community.

Ernst & Young is the founding sponsor of the EBV Families program. “As part of our long-standing commitment to entrepreneurship, and our support of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country, we’re proud to sponsor a program that helps family members of recently deceased or disabled veterans,” says Steve Howe, Ernst & Young LLP, Americas Area Managing Partner. “By providing funding for the program and hands-on assistance, we’re helping these families start and build successful businesses.”

Speakers at the welcome dinner that kicks off the program on the evening of Nov. 7 include Col. Daryl Williams (commander of the U.S. Army’s Warrior Transition Command) and Col. (ret.) Jill Chambers (former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the 2010 Department of Defense “Senior Professional Woman of the Year”). Performing at the opening event will be country music star Michael Peterson, a multiple Grammy and CMA nominee who was also the 2008 recipient of the USO’s Bob Hope “Spirit of Hope Award” for his tireless support of our military, veterans and their families.

About the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) 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. The program was founded at Syracuse University in 2007, and has since expanded to a network of world-class business schools that includes the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Florida State University’s College of Business, the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, the Krannert School at Purdue University and the College of Business at the University of Connecticut.

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, 141,000 people are united by shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. For more information, visit

Media queries can be directed to Ray Toenniessen, national managing director of EBV Programs, at (315) 443-0256 or

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