Soldiers have new mission at entrepreneurship boot camp

Florida State University is set to welcome 24 military veterans from across the country — including five from Florida — to its 2014 Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program, scheduled for June 3-10.

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.

Now in its seventh year at Florida State, the boot camp program is a means through which veterans 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 Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Washington D.C., Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. They represent all branches of the U.S. military.

This year’s FSU EBV program began four weeks ago with a three-week online course that the veterans were required to complete. June 3 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.

This year, a key focus will be the business model canvas, an alternative to business plan development, which helps start-up businesses invest time into building products and services based on the needs of early customers.

In addition, other topics to be covered are opportunity recognition, business concept development, profit models, resource acquisition strategies, 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.