FSU hosts bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
FSU gives disabled United States veterans second chance bootcamp for entrepreneurship
By: Brittnee Newman
Posted: 6/9/08

This summer, Syracuse University, Texas A & M, the University of California at Los Angeles and Florida State University will open their doors to 100 disabled vets during the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.

Hosted by FSU's College of Business, the camp hopes to equip disabled veterans with the tools necessary to reorganize and reenergize their lives and career opportunities after service. The mission is to procure success and stabilization for vets, and a second round of bootcamp might just be the key.

The camp aims to train veterans to take on entrepreneurial endeavors step-by-step and to build a support network.

"(The camp's objective is to) open the door to entrepreneurial opportunity and small business ownership (…) by developing competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture," said Randy Blass, a faculty member in FSU's College of Business and director of Florida State's EBV program. "Also by helping you coordinate your efforts with programs and services for veterans and others with disabilities."

The camp, explained Bass, is open to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines disabled as a result of their service supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and also has another important benefit.

"The EBV program is offered entirely free to qualified veterans accepted into the program," said Blass.

This second chance bootcamp begins with a three week study of material provided by FSU supplemented by online discussion and assessment. At this point, veterans focus on developing their own business ideas. After completing the first round of instruction, participants are flown to Tallahassee to complete a second round of face-to-face instruction on FSU's campus. Workshops and notable guest speakers from other successful entrepreneurship programs enhance this second round, which lasts for nine days. During the third phase, participants have the backing of 12 months of continued support from EBV faculty.

Blass explained that this business-based bootcamp, although differing in its long-term goals, greatly resembles the first round of bootcamp which veterans conquered.

"Like the bootcamp you know, this program is intense, rigorous and challenging," explained Blass. "The bootcamp consists of a series of training modules designed to assist you in growing businesses successfully and profitably."

Experienced faculty members help to enhance the program's effectiveness, according to Blass.

"A team of experienced faculty and successful entrepreneurs will work with you, providing a fun, interactive and informative experience," he continued. "They will introduce entrepreneurship ideas and concepts, and show how to apply them to your current or potential business."

Blass encourages all veterans to apply to one of the host school for the camp.

"Last year there were only 20 slots. This year 100, next year, who knows," he said. "The program covers all expenses including travel, so the only holding you back is yourself."

Blass said that he hopes the program will open doors for veterans.

"Our veterans have less opportunities in their lives than they had before their service," said Blass. "This program is about creating new opportunities for these veterans."

For more information about the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, visit http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv/.

Ellie