The Bank of America Foundation has announced a $50K grant to support the continued development and expansion of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program at the University of Connecticut School of Business. The EBV program is an experiential business development initiative provided through a network of some of the best business schools in the United States, including UConn.
The EBV program was founded in 2007 to offer training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their military service. The aim of the program is to open the door to economic opportunity for veterans by developing competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. More than 300 service-disabled veterans have graduated from the EBV program since its inception and graduates are responsible for the creation of more than 150 new, small businesses. The training is provided at no cost to eligible veterans and is currently offered at UConn, Syracuse, UCLA, Purdue, Florida State, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University.
The University of Connecticut joined the EBV consortium in 2010 and conducted its first training program last fall. The EBV training consists of three stages: an online curriculum for 4 weeks; resident training on campus at an EBV university for 10 days; and mentoring and continued support for 12+ months. More than a dozen returning Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans attended UConn’s initial classes on the Storrs campus. Going into its second year, Mike Zacchea, a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel and highly decorated combat veteran who directs the program for UConn, anticipates doubling the number of veterans attending in 2011. UConn School of Business alumnus William S. Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, was the featured speaker at the graduation ceremony held in Hartford last fall. Mr Simon will be returning to speak to the 2011 class of UConn’s EBV program at their graduation ceremony this October.
“I cannot think of a single more important endeavor for us than helping support those individuals who have committed so much of themselves on behalf of their nation,” says Dean Chris Earley of UConn’s School of Business. “The EBV program is unique and compelling in that we not only reach out to these highly deserving individuals, but we also help foster the economy through their business successes at a time that the nation needs such ingenuity and impact. We are extremely proud to be one of the host schools for the EBV program.”
“Supporting the EBV program is one way to show appreciation for the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform, while at the same time helping to fuel local economies,” said Kevin Cunningham, Bank of America Connecticut president. “In just four years, these budding entrepreneurs have created more than 150 small businesses across the country. This is an exciting partnership, particularly for our Connecticut employees who have served in the military or count themselves among UConn School of Business alumni.”
More information about the EBV Program at UConn is available at http://www.business.uconn.edu/ebv.