The „Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities‟ (EBV) is a novel and „one-of-a- kind‟ initiative designed to leverage the skills, resources, and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting edge, experiential 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 our veterans, by developing their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. The EBV program was founded in 2007, and has been in continuous operation since that time. The EBV Consortium was formed in 2007 as a national, educational initiative designed to help veterans with disabilities to make the transition to self employment, to develop professional networks, and to ultimately start and grow sustainable businesses. The EBV Consortium of Schools is composed of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse, UCLA‟s Anderson School of Management, Florida State University‟s College of Business, the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, the Krannert school at Purdue University, the E.J Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University, and the College of Business at the University of Connecticut. Today, each of these world-class business schools offers the EBV program on their campuses, with Syracuse University serving as the national „host‟ for the program. The EBV Consortium represents the first major partnership of America‟s schools and colleges of business since World War II, formed with the express purpose of serving military veterans. The EBV program represents a 14-month intervention, and consists of three phases of training and support. Phase 1 of the program begins with a 30-day, online course focused on the basic skills of entrepreneurship and the „language of business.‟ Phase 2 of the program is a 9-day residency at an EBV University, where the veterans are exposed to some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the U.S. The residency includes more than 80-hours of instruction focused on topical areas that include opportunity recognition, business concept development, profit models, resource acquisition strategies, business plan development, venture launch methods, guerrilla marketing approaches, deal structuring and negotiation, valuation, entrepreneurial finance and unique funding opportunities for disabled veterans, operations and operating models, service delivery, risk management, human resource management, and legal and regulatory challenges. Further, throughout the residency the veterans are exposed to more than 30 guest speakers to include successful entrepreneurs, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, leaders in government, and national experts in disability education. The residency is intense, and is designed to both educate and motivate. The veterans develop their own business ideas, and learn skills such as writing business plans, developing financial statements, constructing marketing plans, and financing their venture. Phase 3 of the program involves 12-months of support and mentorship, delivered through a robust, comprehensive network of mentors and national partnerships. The EBV curriculum is designed to take the participants through the steps and stages of venture creation, with a tailored emphasis on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran business-owner. The curriculum outline below represents the core modules of training provided during phases 1 & 2 of the training experience. This outline is not all-inclusive, but is provided as a basis for understanding the depth and breadth of the program‟s offering: The EBV ‘Bootcamp’ Experience Session Title: The Entrepreneurial Experience: Process, Opportunities and Great Concepts Purpose: The purpose of this session is to establish a common understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur. What is entrepreneurship? Can it mean different things to different people? What are the attributes of an entrepreneur? What are the attributes of an entrepreneurial opportunity? An entrepreneurial venture? Learning Objectives: - Explain the meaning of entrepreneurship and what it means to be an entrepreneur - Learn how to identify sound business opportunities - Learn how to evaluate ideas to determine whether they are sound business concepts - Explain what is the entrepreneurial mind set Session Title: The Entrepreneurial Dream: Mission, Aspirations, and Risk Purpose: Teach the students the methods and techniques to understand their entrepreneurial goals in the context of helping them understand themselves. In the context of entrepreneurship, this session is designed to help them relate the risk and challenges of entrepreneurship to their own life situation. Discuss the importance – in the context of entrepreneurship – of self-reflection and self-regulation and the value of establishing supportive personal networks.. Learning Objectives: - Learn how to identify ones dreams and goals - Help the student discover how their dreams relate to e-ship - Learn how to identify and overcome challenges and fear - Learn how to enlist members of their customized support team to help clarify and assist with the tasks needed to develop a viable business concept - Learn the student tools to continuously evaluate its progress toward the dream(s) Session Title: Resources for Veterans in Business Purpose: This is designed to educate attendees as to those available resources positioned to advance veteran entrepreneurship. Such resources include funding vehicles, networking opportunities, and other educational programs. Learning Objectives: - Understand the dynamics of the small business environment with regard to those available resources positioned to business creation and growth among veteran entrepreneurs - Understand government set-aside programs for veteran-owned business - Learn how to leverage veterans benefits and resources to advance small business goals Session Title: Before the Business Plan: Make Meaning in Your Company Purpose: This session relates to the one above, but is intended to make the point that “it is more important to know WHO YOU ARE than know where you are going.” What is the mission and vision for your venture? How is the entrepreneur reflected in that vision and mission? Through examples/cases demonstrate the importance of understanding what about your venture (vision/mission) is open to change, and what is not. Learning Objectives: - Understand the process of developing a „vision‟ for your venture - Understand the process of developing a „mission plan‟ for your venture - Understand the dynamics of the small business environment with regard to uncertainty and change as it relates to each of the above. Session Title: Integrating Family and Business Life Purpose: This session relates to issues relevant to balancing work and family life for women entrepreneurs. This session takes the form of a panel discussion of successful women entrepreneurs and executive. Learning Objectives: - Understand the process of to balancing work and family life for veteran entrepreneurs Session Title: Introduction to the Business Plan Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the students to the elements of a robust and comprehensive business planning, detailing not only the structure of the plan, but also the process of business planning. Learning Objectives: - Importance of the business plan - Learn the areas one needs to address in a business plan to offer prospective lenders and investors a complete view of the business, as well as provide a tool one should use to start and run his/her company. - Understand the skeletal outline of the business plan - Understand what needs to be said in each section of the business plan Session Title: Discovering Personal Genius 101 Purpose: Discovering personal genius is a process that helps entrepreneurs identify, assess and understand their own core gifts, skills, talents and strengths. The Discovery process helps the entrepreneur to make good decisions about their motivations for starting a business and the array of supports they have and need to overcome identified challenges. This session also includes principles and practices for developing a customized support team that can help entrepreneurs with business development tasks that they are unable to do or can do, but need assistance. Learning Objectives: - Understand the Discovery process and how it assists entrepreneurship - Become familiar with Discovery self-assessment tools - Understand support team concepts, and tools and techniques for developing one‟s own customized support team. Session Title: The Business Plan: Understanding the Market (double session) Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the fundamentals of market analysis as a basis for understanding customers. Particular focus relates to tying product/service value to customer needs. Learning Objectives: - Learn how to identify and define the relevant market - Learn how to calculate the market size and identify market trends - Learn what the buyer behavior is and how to identify it - Learn how to do market segmentation and targeting - Learn how to do competitors research and identify the competitive edge compared to them - Learn how to estimate market share and sales Session Title: Marketing for Entrepreneurs Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce creative approaches to winning customers and capturing markets, with a particular focus toward building awareness and marketing techniques and strategies appropriate for an entrepreneurial context. Learning Objectives: - Educate the students about the changes in market and marketing - Learn the basics of market research (Who buys? Why? How? When? What? Where?) - Understand market segmentation process and its importance - Learn the selling/buying process and how to develop the marketing efforts for each stage of the selling/buying process - Developing a marketing budget Session Title: ‘Seeding’ Self-Employment – Part 1 Purpose: Entrepreneurs with disabilities can take advantage of a variety of resources for entrepreneurs offered by agencies that serve people with disabilities, if they choose to do so. This session introduces the entrepreneurship resources offered through state and federal agencies including DVA Vocational Rehabilitation and State Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation Learning Objectives: - Vets will get information about the DVA/VR and State VR office in their home communities and receive information about registering for assistance if the wish to do so. Session Title: ‘Seeding’ Self-Employment – Part 2 Purpose: Veterans with disabilities may be eligible to obtain benefits through the Social Security Administration to help them start and sustain a business. Benefits obtainable through the Department of Veterans Affairs may also support entrepreneurship. In addition to providing an overview of these potential sources of support and eligibility requirements, Vets will have an opportunity to enroll for private counseling sessions with the trainer to provide individualized benefits advice and resources. Learning Objectives: - General understanding about Social Security and DVA work incentives available to support entrepreneurship - Information about work and tax incentives is also valuable to the business owner if they intend to hire workers with disabilities Session Title: Financing Your Venture (double session) Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the students to the various avenues for venture funding, such as banks, venture capital, and angel investment; particular focus paid to the venture life-cycle, and the changing funding requirements/avenues dictated by venture growth. Typically, this session includes time devoted to a panel discussion where new venture financiers (banker, VC, angel, etc) discuss the nuances of their respective funding requirements. Learning Objectives: - Learn how to capitalize the company - E-Finance Principle - Learn the different sources of financing - Learn the venture cycle Session Title: The Logic of Profit: The Economic Model Purpose: In this session students learn how to analyze the economic model of a new venture, and relate the economics of the business to strategic decisions. Learning Objectives: - Learn the different costs (FC, VC, CM, PVCM) and learn how to do break even analysis - Learn how to identify drivers of the revenue and drivers of expenses - Learn how to implement the economics to the overall business model - Understand the four elements of the economic model: Operating Leverage, Margins, Revenue Drivers, and Volumes Session Title: Understanding the Numbers (double session) Purpose: The purpose of this session in to introduce financial statements – their preparation, analysis, and utility as a tool in the strategic decision-making process. Learning Objectives: - Learn how the financing differs for different business forms - Learn what are the sources of financing and how they work - Understand what is a successful venture life cycle - Learn what the exit strategy is and the role that finances and sound business plan play in the exist strategy - Learn the different financial tools (cash flow, income statement and, balance sheet) and how they are being used in business decision making Session Title: Entrepreneurial Strategy Purpose: The purpose of this session in to introduce the fundamentals of competitive strategy; particular attention is paid to the relationship between strategy and change given the entrepreneurial context. Learn the importance of innovation and creativity in the development of strategy, as it relates to entrepreneurial growth/success Learning Objectives: - Understanding what strategy means and how it relates to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial process - How to do SWOT analysis and use it as a tool - How to interpret the industry and competitors analysis and strategically differentiate in the compatible environment Session Title: Resource Planning for Entrepreneurs Purpose: Participants will list out what they see as their business start-up expenses, and how leveraging benefits and various sources of financial assistance available to entrepreneurs with disabilities could be incorporated into their business financial plan. The session will also briefly describe other types of tax incentives available to entrepreneurs like Economic Development Zone Tax Credits, Individual Development Accounts, etc. Learning Objectives: - Participants will understand how to develop a blended and braided business financial strategy using benefits and tax incentives available to entrepreneurs with disabilities or those that hire people with disabilities - While entrepreneurs may not decide to use work incentives personally, they will have the opportunity to understand and examine how these may be used when they hire staff with disabilities and/or locate their businesses in designated communities providing certain tax incentives Session Title: Operations and Your Operating Model Purpose: Learn and identify an outline of how one will run his/her business and deliver value to the customers Learning Objectives: - Understand the operating model and map the operating process - Learn how to identify bottle necks and provide solutions - Understand and map the customer “moment of truth” - Managing experiences and quality problems while adding value - Understand the stages of operations Session Title: Pricing/Service Mix Purpose: Understand the products/services offering and its important relationship to the pricing strategy. Learning Objectives: - Fundamental product concepts and product positioning - Fundamental services concepts and service positioning - Creativity in pricing - Pricing structures Session Title: Managing your Supply Chain Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the fundamentals of supply chain management to the students, with a particular focus of cost control and supplier management. Learning Objectives: - Understand what supply chain management means and how it is related to business planning and growth - Learn how to manage and reduce costs by implementing supply chain management - Learn how to negotiate and reduce expenses - Learn techniques for cost reduction Session Title: Leveraging Resources for Self-Employment Purpose: This session describes how Vets who are entrepreneurs can use Department of Labor One Stop Career Centers, Small Business Development Centers, (SBDC), Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and resources available through the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain training, funding, access to markets and information on how to establish and grow their businesses when they return to their home communities. Vets will receive a summary listing of agencies, addresses and contact information for all agencies described in the presentation located in their home communities to use if the wish when they return. The session also describes how people with disabilities represent a large potential market for products and services as well as an underutilized and potentially valuable workforce. Learning Objectives: - Vets will learn how to use resources and incentives as part of a business development strategy, and how to contact these agencies when they return home to start their businesses. - Obtain a better understanding of the purchasing possibilities represented by people with disabilities - Understand how to attract and retain employees with disabilities Session Title: Partners, Teams, Human Resources and Other People Issues (double session) Purpose: Learn the tools that will effectively improve the people and communication skills and help the entrepreneur target the right individual(s) for business, team, partners, etc. Learning Objectives: - Learn how to find out if one is credible as employee, partner, contractor, etc. - Importance of networking and tools for successful network - Learn different types of trust and how they relate to entrepreneurship - Learn importance of reputation and how to develop reputational capital - Learn the four major aspects of human resources and the tools that effectively help the business: Person-Organization-Fit, Motivation, Turnover, Culture and environment - Learn tools to recognize and effectively deal with people issues Session Title: Introduction to Government Contracts (double session) Purpose: In this session students are introduced to the government contracting process. Specific discussion and instruction is focused toward how service disabled veterans can leverage their SDVOB status in order to grow their business through government contracts. Learning Objectives: - Understand the socioeconomic considerations behind PL106-50 - Understand how and where service disabled veterans can pursue the government contracts - Understand the legal and technical requirements of SDVOBs in the pursuit of government contracts - Understand the scope of the work involved when pursuing government contracts Session Title: Personal Factors Affecting Start-up and Sustainability Purpose: Starting a business can be difficult but sustaining and growing the business can be even more challenging. This session helps Vets with disabilities identify and address some of the personal „triggers‟ that can affect business sustainability and ways to develop a „business retention‟ plan, as part of the business planning and development process. The session emphasizes the value of developing personal support networks to help address and overcome factors related to disability that may have an effect on starting, operating and growing their business. Learning Objectives: - Ways to develop and use peer, natural and professional supports to help start, operate and grow a business. - Use tools like a „business retention‟ checklist to help design a personal sustainability plan - Ways to use a resource list of disability-related tools, websites, contacts, etc available to them in their home communities that can help them manage their life and business needs - Understand how job retention strategies can help retain employees with disabilities - Learn tools and techniques for improving financial literacy and managing personal as well as business finances Session Title: Legal Issues in Small Business Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the students to the most common legal issues faced by small business owners, introduce strategies positioned to mitigate the impact of those issue on the functioning of the business, and to introduce legal resources available to small business owners. Learning Objectives: - Legal form of the business - Forms of IP Protection: Patents; Trademarks / trade dress Copyrights Trade secrets Contracts and sub-contracts - Strategies for protecting ideas and products Session Title: Using Technology to Grow Your Business Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the various ways that technology can be used to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and also open the door to new markets. Particular focus is paid to web and mobile technologies, web-based selling and marketing, and also customer management utilities. Learning Objectives: - Learn how technology can simplify the internal operations and save money and time - Learn the different mobile technologies and how these can be effectively implemented in the business - Learn the internet technologies and how these can be used in the business - Learn what is internet marketing and how it can be implemented in the marketing efforts of the company - Learn what is the e-commerce and how one can sell via e-commerce Summary Since the program‟s inception at Syracuse University in 2007, more than 350 veterans with disabilities have completed the EBV program. The EBV has become an integral component of the DoD‟s efforts to transition service members with disabilities, from military to civilian life. In 2009, the Department of the Army named the EBV as a national „best practice‟ for programs serving soldiers and their families. Further, in 2009 the community of entrepreneurship and business school academics awarded the EBV program the McGraw-Hill/Irwin Prize, given each year to the most innovative and impactful application of entrepreneurship pedagogy. In summary, by all accounts the EBV program has developed into a truly world-class initiative that is representative of a novel programmatic approach to addressing a social and economic imperative.
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