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EBV SuccessBack in 2007, Syracuse University played home to the inaugural class of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. The EBV program is designed to open the doors of economic opportunities for Disabled Veterans and their families by helping them develop professional networks, and learn how to create and sustain their own businesses.

The EBV program has grown into a national movement, helping over 700 disabled Veterans. Several university campuses across the country now hold entrepreneurship boot camp sessions for Veterans.  Joining Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in offering the EBV program to Veterans are Cornell University, Louisiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business, the University of Connecticut’s School of Business, Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, Florida State University’s College of Business, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

The entrepreneurship training is offered, to qualified Veterans who are accepted into the program, at no charge to the Veterans, and without using any of their GI Bill. For the last seven years, 70% of EBV graduates have gone on to start their own companies.

One EBV success story comes from the very first session at Syracuse in 2007. Marine Corps Veteran John Raftery was preparing to start a contracting firm in Dallas when he read an article about a small business training program for Veterans with disabilities.  The former Marine immediately applied and was accepted into the EBV program.

Raftery credits the program with helping him take the critically important first steps as a small business owner. In 2012, Raftery’s company, Patriot Contractors, Inc., was on a list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the country.

“I don’t think the business would have grown as quickly if not for the EBV program,” Raftery said.

Many Veterans served to preserve the American dream for their countrymen. Thousands of Veterans fulfill their own American dreams when their service to our country has ended. Already proven to have the winning spirit, Veterans make great entrepreneurs.

There are numerous resources available to help Veteran entrepreneurs succeed in their business ventures. The EBV program is just one of many. Please be sure to visit www.VAMBOA.org, as well as VAMBOA’s Resource Page to find out more information on the EBV program and many other state, federal and local programs for Veteran entrepreneurs.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Entrepreneur Bootcamp Success Story: By Debbie Gregory

EBV-LogoA considerable number of Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with some form of VA-rated disability. Many of these disabled Veterans have difficulty adjusting to their new lives, and some are experiencing difficulties finding meaningful employment. But through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, disabled Veterans are becoming empowered small business owners.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program offers top of the line training and experience in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 Veterans, disabled as a result of their military service. The program is offered at no cost to participating Veterans, and does not require the use of any Veteran education benefits.

The program is based on three principles:

1) Developing skills in the activities associated with launching and growing a small business

2) Teaching disabled Veterans to leverage state and federal programs for Veterans and people with disabilities

3) Establishing a support structure for graduates of the program

EBV originated in 2007 at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. EBV now has offerings at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the E.J. Ourso College of Business at LSU, Florida State University’s College of Business, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, the University of Connecticut School of Business, and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

The EBV program is an invaluable opportunity for disabled Veterans to take an important step toward economic freedom through entrepreneurship. The program is selective based on eligibility, need and potential. Applications for EBV will be accepted from Veterans who:

  • Have separated from active duty service after 2001 (or are currently in the administrative process of separating)
  • Have been identified as having a ‘service-connected disability’ as a result of their military service (including activated National Guard and Reserves) Note: Can be in process of evaluation of disability through the VA
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management

Applicants must also submit their Résumé and two Letters of Recommendation when filling out an online EBV Application Form.

The selection process will be based on the ‘whole-person’ concept, with a focus on an assessment of the applicant’s potential to excel in the program. Also taken into consideration is the Veteran’s potential to excel upon graduating from the EBV in the area of entrepreneurship and small business management.

NOTE: The percentage of your disability is not a factor in determining your acceptance into the EBV program.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Crash Course in Entrepreneurship for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Boots to BusinessBoots to Business program is set to benefit from $1.12 million in grants.

On September 19, 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with America’s Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, and the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC). This co-op has agreed to provide a total of $1.12 million worth of funding needed to facilitate resource partner participation in SBA’s Boots to Business program.

The SBA’s Boots to Business program provides training to transitioning service members and military spouses who are interested in business ownership. The program functions as part of the Defense Department’s TAP program. The original Boots to Business began as a pilot program in 2012, and was expanded in 2013.

Each year, more than 250,000 service members separate from the military ranks. With their experience and leadership skills, Veterans have proven to be natural entrepreneurs. Veterans are more likely to be self-employed than those with no active-duty military experience. There are approximately 2.45 million Veteran owned small businesses in the U.S., making up approximately 9% of all American small businesses. Veteran owned small businesses employ more than five million Americans, generating more than one trillion dollars of sales receipts each year.

“Veterans make some of our country’s best entrepreneurs, and we are investing in them by ensuring our partners are funded to maximize the training and support they provide to service members embarking on their post-service careers,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We owe so much to those who have served in our Armed Forces and sacrificed so much.  Our veterans deserve opportunities, and the SBA and our network of small business experts are ready to help them start their next chapter.”

Since January, 2013, more than 16,000 transitioning service members have participated in the two-day “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class that was offered on 165 military installations around the globe. This year, the Boots to Business program was appropriated $7 million in the federal budget.

To learn more about the Boots to Business Program and additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Boots to Business Gets $1.12M: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA goals metThe U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on Friday, August 1, this 2014 that the U.S. government achieved its small business federal contracting goal. The federal government awarded more than 23% of its federal contracts to small businesses, totaling more than $83 billion. This was the first time in eight years that the federal government has reached its contracting goal.

The announcement was made at a press conference that was held at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. She was joined by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Senator Ben Cardin.

“When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win.  Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows,” Contreras-Sweet said.  “Thanks to the president’s leadership and a team effort among all federal agencies, we were able to meet this goal.”

While contract expenditures have gone down in all categories as a result of overall reduced federal spending, small businesses managed to secure a greater percentage of the contracts. This is due inpart to the SBA working with other federal agencies to help small businesses win federal contracts.

The SBA also facilitated the requirement for larger companies with substantial federal contracts to sub-contract with Veteran-owned small businesses.

Along with the announcement, the SBA released the FY 2013 Small Business Procurement Scorecard. These annual scorecard provides an assessment of each federal agency’s yearly small business contracting achievement against its goal, with 20 agencies receiving an A or A+.  Overall, the federal government received an “A” on the government-wide Scorecard.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Government Achieves Small Business Contracting Goal

VAMBOA: BBB Military Line: By Debbie Gregory

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BBB Military Line

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is not a government agency, but a nonprofit organization that consists of many independently incorporated local bureaus, spanning the entire nation. The organization serves as a go-between between consumers and businesses, collecting data and providing free reviews on more than four million businesses. In 2012, the BBB handled over one million disputes between consumers and businesses.

According to their website, the BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes their mission by:

  • Creating a community of trustworthy businesses
  • Setting standards for marketplace trust
  • Encouraging and supporting best practices
  • Celebrating marketplace role models
  • Denouncing substandard marketplace behavior

Since 2004, the more than 112 local BBB’s across the U.S. have participated in a program that provides free services to service members and military families. The program, called BBB Military Line, offers resources to military families, including consumer protection and lessons in financial literacy. The BBB’s Military Line is an extension of their stated mission that is specially geared to benefit the military community.

 

The BBB is always looking to add businesses to its list of members. If you, as a Veteran business owner, would like your business to become a member of the Better Business Bureau, begin by contacting your local BBB, which can be found on the organization’s website.

For more information about consumer protection, or affiliating your business with the BBB, please visit www.bbb.org or search BBB Military Line.

By Debbie Gregory

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