Soldiers have a new mission at FSU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

J.R. Martinez on the cover of People magazine, Nov. 7, 2011.

Florida State University is set to welcome 23 military veterans from across the country — including nine from Florida — to its 2012 Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, scheduled for June 19-26. The veterans, all of whom have experienced disabilities while serving their country, will spend an intense week in classes, workshops and breakout sessions and hear from industry professionals on best practices that will help them start a business or take their current business to the next level.

This year’s weeklong boot camp kicks off with an opening ceremony on Tuesday, June 19, with actor J.R. Martinez delivering the keynote address. Severely burned by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq in 2003, the former Army infantryman launched a career as a motivational speaker and actor after completing the EBV at Florida State in 2008. More recently, he was the winner of Season 13 of ABC-TV’s popular “Dancing with the Stars” and the grand marshal of the 2012 Rose Parade.

Now in its fifth year at Florida State, the boot-camp program is a means through which veterans such as Martinez can engage the economic engine of their communities, states and the nation. The program offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small-business management. The generosity of sponsors and donors, many of them Florida State alumni, makes it possible for the program to be offered free to participants.

In addition to the Floridians who will take part in this year’s boot camp, participants hail from Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia. They represent all branches of the U.S. military.

The EBV program was founded in 2007 at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. In addition to Syracuse and Florida State, it now is offered at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California Los Angeles; Mays Business School at Texas A&M University; Krannert School of Management at Purdue University; the University of Connecticut College of Business; the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University; and the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

This year’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program at FSU began three weeks ago with an online course that the veterans were required to complete. June 19 marks the beginning of the residency portion of the program. At the end of the weeklong residency, the program will provide 12 months of ongoing support for the veterans after they return home.

Key topics to be addressed in the program will 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 veterans with disabilities, operations and operating models, service delivery, risk management, human resource management, and legal and regulatory challenges.

To learn more, contact Barbara Ash, manager of Communications/Media Relations, College of Business Dean’s Office, (850) 644-5508, or