We recently celebrated Veterans Day – a day to honor our military veterans and the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation. We have called on these men and women to serve in Afghanistan, Iraq and in conflicts around the world. As veterans, we call on them again to apply their leadership, discipline and problem-solving skills to serve our nation as entrepreneurs and job creators.
At the Krannert School of Management we are proud to be one of eight universities across the country that offers the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). Students complete an online program, travel to Purdue University for an intensive nine-day program and then stay connected with our faculty, campus resources and program mentors as a follow-up to on-campus instruction. Earlier this month we completed our fourth annual EBV program with 26 students graduating.
The program is offered at no cost to post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities who are passionate about small business ownership. It is privately funded by donations to the Krannert School of Management and the National EBV Consortium. Accenture provided major financial and instructional support for the program at Purdue along with many other generous sponsors.
Every member of the teaching faculty, including many Purdue professors, volunteered their time and expertise as a way of giving back. We also now have several hundred, yes several HUNDRED, volunteers from our student body who are helping with the program. Even our welcome-to-campus barbecue featuring country singer Michael Peterson was provided at minimal cost because of Michael’s passion for the EBV program.
The EBV students learned from Purdue faculty and staff about micro markets, elevator pitches, employee management, commercialization plans, legal issues, negotiation, social media, sales and much, much more. They heard entrepreneurial insights from Bill Oesterle, co-founder of Angie’s List; Scott Wise, restauranteur and founder of Scotty’s Brewhouse; Roland Parrish, president, CEO and owner of Parrish McDonald’s Restaurants; and many others.
Here is what retired Lt. Col. Craig Triscari, a 2012 graduate of the program, had to say: “I witnessed veterans coming out of their dark places and experiencing a sense of worth that they seemed to have lost after leaving the service. The program provided a reconnection of the brotherhood, but armed them with a firm base of knowledge on becoming an entrepreneur. It inspired the EBV students to be more and to strive for a better business future.”
We sincerely hope our EBV students have learned as much from us about how to build and sustain a successful business as we have learned from them about courage, resilience and the strength of the human spirit.
Dean, Krannert School of Management