We start with a program offered by Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management called the “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities“, that just announced it is expanding to include a sixth school, the University of Connecticut’s School of Business. The program, which teaches disabled veterans how to become small business owners, was started by Mike Haynie three years ago and has a current enrollment of 125. To date 225 veterans have gone through the program since 2006.
Haynie, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Whitman, told The Post-Standard that he gets 400 applications annually and hates to turn veterans away. “It kills me to have to write a letter to a vet saying, sorry, we can’t help you,” Haynie told the Post-Standard about the program, which has been funded by donations from SU alumni and entrepreneurs. Haynie said the latest expansion will boost enrollment to 150, but he has plans to take the program nationwide. To help facilitate that goal the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration is giving Haynie $450,000 over the next three years.
The program, which is free for veterans, includes a five-week online component, after which participants are flown to one of the participating universities for an intensive 10-day course where they receive instruction on making a business plan, marketing, supply-chain management and legal issues. Accounting firm Ernst & Young donated $50,000 to help Haynie offer additional training to the spouses and other family members of disabled veterans.
Another vehicle to help veteran entrepreneurs is the website ChangeCorp.us, which is an information aggregation platform where veteran business owners can post questions and receive answers from their entrepreneurial peers. The website, currently operating in test mode, also reviews other veteran-based resource sites and its stated mission is “to become an open-source tool controlled by veterans for veterans.”