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EVB-Dr. Mike Haynie

By Tina M Kapral | Senior Director of  Education and Training
Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), is a program executed by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University in cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration (SBA).  This year, EBV proudly celebrates its 10-Year Anniversary, and is delivered at ten universities nationwide.  It’s more than 1,300 graduates have revenues totaling over $196 million and hire on average four employees (many of whom are fellow veterans). Of these graduates, 68% of the businesses started are still in operation today.

Although EBV didn’t start that way, it began as a social venture of Dr. J. Michael Haynie, an Air Force veteran of 14 years (1992-2006), who in 2006 joined the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University as a professor of entrepreneurship.  Dr. Haynie knew through his research that veterans were starting businesses at a much higher rate than civilians.  For example, after WWII, over 48% started business, and individuals with a disability were twice as likely to start a businesses (http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/misc/entrepre.htm) .  He realized the faculty of Whitman were teaching, training and inspiring entrepreneurs every day, so why not bring this opportunity of business ownership to the community that most deserved to live the American dream — veterans and their families.

Dr. Haynie developed the curriculum to include an online portion, followed by a nine-day residency on campus, with follow up resources and support. He wanted the EBV program to be offered at no cost to post 9/11 service connected disabled veterans with a passion for entrepreneurship. He presented his proposal to the Dean of the Whitman School. Dean Melvin T. Stith, a Vietnam veteran himself, immediately gave Dr. Haynie the approval to launch this program at Syracuse University.  Now came the difficult part — raising the funds needed to support the effort, as well as recruiting veterans to participate. Dr. Haynie found supporters among Whitman alumni, who financially supported EBV; the Whitman faculty, who volunteered to teach; and business students, who helped to execute the program.

The recruitment was more difficult; Dr. Haynie found himself traveling to wounded warrior units to present the program and encountered many challenging naysayers who felt that veterans should not become business owners.  Dr. Haynie would later find research proving the opposite.  He noted this in The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran, Beyond the Clique’, March 2015, stating many veterans possess the same characteristics as those who are high performing entrepreneurs. “Individuals who are drawn to military service, who then have military training and socialization have a common strong self-efficacy, a high need for achievement, are comfortable with autonomy and uncertainty, and make effective decisions in the face of dynamic environments. These attributes, as they are linked to entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset among military veterans, have been consistently demonstrated in practice.” (http://vets.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/The-Business-Case-for-Hiring-a-Veteran-3-6-124.pdf)

Tips for Budding Veteran Entrepreneurs

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boots_to_business

By Debbie Gregory.

I must sound like a broken record when I say that the traits and skills our nation’s service members possess make them great entrepreneurs, and that military service is one of the leading indicators of entrepreneurial success. Now the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) backs this up with statistics that reveal veterans are 45% more likely to be entrepreneurs than non-veterans, and over 13% of veterans have been self-employed in recent years.

Part of that success might be due to the many resources available to help budding entrepreneurs start and run their small businesses, once they leave the military. In fact, over the last three years, more than 35,000 transitioning service members and military spouses have participated in the SBA’s Boots to Business entrepreneurship training program, presented in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Since not every veteran has access to the Boots to Business program, here are some important tips to stay the course:

  1. Lean on your military skills, traits and experience. While in the military, your ability to lead, bounce back, and push through served you well. Likewise, these abilities will serve you well as a great entrepreneur or small business owner.
  1. Know the difference between an opportunity and an idea. While an opportunity could parlay into a business, an idea is more of a feeling or notion that could be fleeting and lead to a failed venture. Try to brainstorm with the people you trust will give you honest feedback, or pull together a focus group.
  1. Analyze the market. Is there a market need for what you are offering? Who will be your customers? Why will they be your customer vs. your competitors’?
  1. Know where to find funding, and be aware of all the financial risks. Will you be tapping friends and family, a bank loans, or outside investors? The SBA has numerous financial resources and SBA-guaranteed loans are an excellent form of funding for veteran startups. T
  1. Make sure you do a feasibility analysis to make sure you know whether or not small business ownership is right for you. A New Venture Feasibility Analysis Tool is available on the Boots to Business website here: http://boots2business.org/resources/
  1. Remember that your business, and ultimately your success, depends on YOU.

Advancing Vet Owned Businesses

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VAMBOA Joins Forces with the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) to Advance Vet Owned Businesses

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA), a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association, is proud to join forces with the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), the leading third party certification organization for veteran owned businesses. Together, the two organizations are working towards advancing certification for service disabled and veteran owned businesses (SD/VOBs).

VAMBOA founder Debbie Gregory said, “Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have worn our country’s uniform. In the private sector, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed. Moreover, with nearly one in ten small businesses being veteran-owned, it is up to all of us to support them and contribute to their successes.”

The NVBDC, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is also committed to growing veteran owned businesses, and to that end has created a nationally recognized certification program via an easy and intuitive web based interface to complete the certification process.

Keith King, NVBDC president said, “We set out to build the ‘Gold Standard’ certification program for our fellow SD/VOBs, and we have done that. With the support and endorsement of GM, AT&T, Kellogg’s, Ford, Magna International, 3M, CPI, Consumers Energy and many more corporations, we are proud to provide an opportunity for VAMBOA members and our certified SD/VOBs to work with America’s leading corporations.

About VAMBOA
VAMBOA’s mission is to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of veteran owned businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA’s “Vet Owned” seal symbolizes the talent, dedication, leadership and courage of these special Americans who currently serve or have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. Membership is in the 501(c) 6 trade association is free. If you would like to sign up for membership, please visit https://vamboa.org. VAMBOA relies on corporate sponsorship. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please call Debbie Gregory at (877) 850-9800.

About NVBDC
The NVBDC’s principal goals are to promote business opportunities for SD/VOBs within commercial and government markets; to support the interests of all Veteran Owned Businesses; to facilitate interaction between VOBs, government, and all other businesses in support of business initiatives for Veterans; and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between its members, government agencies and industry through networking, committees, meetings, conferences and visits to government and industry facilities. The NVBDC is the certification body for SD/VOB’s that ensures that credible documentation exists of a business’ veteran status, ownership and control.

Historically the Industry Supplier Diversity programs have relied on non-government organizations to provide them with independent third party certification. The Government controlled Center for Veteran Enterprise does not verify MEDIUM or LARGE companies, thereby denying them a formal veteran business recognition. The NVBDC certifies all sizes of veteran businesses. Industry can be positive that a SD/VOB certified by the NVBDC is in fact an owned, operated and controlled veteran business.

Veterans Business Outreach Center

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The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has 15 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

Services Provided by the Centers

Pre-Business Plan Workshops

VBOCs conduct entrepreneurial development workshops dealing specifically with the major issues of self-employment. An important segment of these workshops entails the usage of the Internet as a tool for developing and expanding businesses. Each client is afforded the opportunity to work directly with a business counselor.

Concept Assessments

VBOCs assist clients in assessing their entrepreneurial needs and requirements.

Business Plan Preparations

VBOCs assist clients in developing and maintaining a five-year business plan. The business plan includes such elements as the legal form if the business, equipment requirements and cost, organizational structure, a strategic plan, market analysis, and a financial plan. Financial plans include financial projections, budget projections, and funding requirements.

Comprehensive Feasibility Analysis

VBOCs provide assistance in identifying and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the business plan to increase the probability of success. The results of the analysis are utilized to revise the strategic planning portion of the business plan.

Entrepreneurial Training and Counseling

VBOCs, working with other SBA resource partners, target entrepreneurial training projects and counseling sessions tailored specifically to address the needs and concerns of the service-disabled veteran entrepreneur.

Mentorship

VBOCs conduct, as appropriate, on-site visits with clients to ensure adherence to their business plans. Additionally, VBOCs review monthly financial statements to determine whether a revision of the business plan is warranted or that desired results are being attained.

Other Business Developmental Related Services

VBOCs also provide assistance and training in such areas as international trade, franchising, Internet marketing, accounting, etc.

Center Locations and Areas of Coverage

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Region X

The U.S. House recently approved H.R. 1694 and passed it on to the Senate for consideration. The legislation, drafted by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-PA, would include veterans in the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

“The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act is a bipartisan, common sense way to update legislation that redresses the exclusion of veteran small businesses at no cost to the taxpayer,” said James Oxford, chairman of the American Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Commission. “The American Legion encourages the Senate and the White House to level the playing field for these veterans by turning Rep. Fitzpatrick’s legislation into law.”

“This legislation is necessary to provide parity for the nearly 1 million veterans who are small business owners seeking government contracts,” Oxford said. “Veterans should not be placed at a disadvantage in competing with other government procurement programs.”

According to the Small Business Administration, veterans own 380,395 construction firms, 64,542 manufacturing companies and 414,519 businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services. Currently, only half of the states meet their DBE goals. Adding veteran small businesses to this program would increase the pool of eligible firms at the states’ disposal.  For states that already meet their goals, this bill does not affect them or the small business contractors they employ.

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