Cutting Edge Program at Syracuse University Helps Returning Veterans From Afghanistan & Iraq “Create Their Own Jobs”

Newswise — The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University will welcome 23 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraqi conflicts to its Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) on July 24. The program, offered entirely free (including travel and accommodations) to post-9/11 veterans, provides men and women representing all four branches of the U.S. military with cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small business management in an effort to help them “create their own jobs.”

During their nine-day residency on campus, veterans 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. More than 300 veterans from all over the United States have taken part in the EBV, and more than 100 successful ventures have already been launched by program graduates.

Offered in three phases, the program provides veterans the opportunity to engage in workshops to write their business plans, raise capital, attract customers, and develop a marketing strategy that is most effective for their business model. 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 the Whitman School, where they will become immersed in the residency, learning to develop their own business concepts and understanding the basic elements of small business management. Phase III involves 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship provided to the veterans from faculty experts.

“The year 2010 marks nine years since our troops first entered into conflict in Afghanistan and seven years since the conflict began in Iraq,” says Melvin T. Stith, dean of the Whitman School of Management and a former Vietnam War-era Army captain. “Wounded warriors are coming back from these conflicts with fewer opportunities in the workplace. This program is a step towards providing them with the skills and knowledge to create their own opportunities. All six schools provide these veterans with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the marketplace and create and build their dreams. The Whitman School is proud to lead the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Consortium of outstanding business schools in this endeavor.”

The EBV was created by the Whitman School in 2007 and has since expanded into a nationwide partnership with five other business schools: UCLA Anderson School of Management, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, Florida State University’s College of Business, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, and the College of Business at the University of Connecticut. More than 150 veterans will receive training at the six consortium schools over the next four months.

“Providing opportunities to a group so deserving is consistent with the mission of higher education.” says Mike Haynie, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, creator and director of the EBV, and a former U.S. Air Force major. “Every year, with the tremendous support of friends around the nation, the program is able to reach more wounded veterans.”

As a result of a significant gift from the family of Syracuse alumnus Steve Barnes ’82 BS, the EBV program at SU will be serving veterans for many years to come. Barnes is managing director at Bain Capital, a leading global private equity firm. In addition, the recent Dream Machine partnership agreement with PepsiCo will also help grow the program around the U.S. to provide career training, education and job creation to even more veterans. The Dream Machine is a nationwide recycling initiative to make it more convenient and rewarding for people to recycle on the go. Each time a bottle or can is deposited in a Dream Machine, the environment gets a little greener; consumers earn points that can be collected and redeemed for rewards; and PepsiCo makes a donation to EBV.

To create disability-related curriculum and assist participants in understanding and leveraging programs at the intersection of disability and entrepreneurship, the program is offered in collaboration with SU’s Burton Blatt Institute, which seeks to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of persons with disabilities.

To apply to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, visit whitman.syr.edu/ebv or contact the Whitman School of Management at (315) 443-8736 or EBVinfo@syr.edu.

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