Entrepreneurship program for veterans’ family sustained by donors

Scott and Holly Bodenweber.

Financial support from a South Florida couple along with the Hudson Family Foundation will allow a certificate program that trains veterans’ family members in entrepreneurship and business management to again be offered at Florida State University.

Budgetary constraints had threatened the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F) from being offered this year until Scott and Holly Bodenweber, through the Hudson Family Foundation, stepped in with their donation, which was matched by the national EBV Program.

“All of the costs associated with veterans’ family members participating in EBV-F are covered by the program, so it carries a hefty price tag,” said Randy Blass, executive director of The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State, which also hosts an annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.

Family members of disabled veterans from across the country learn the skills needed to run their own businesses through EBV-F, which has been featured on “60 Minutes” and is only offered at Florida State University and Syracuse University.

“When we realized that the national EBV program would match the funds raised for EBV-F, it was imperative that we contribute. The veteran is understandably the major focus of most support programs, but many times the family is forced into a critical situation as well. We refused to let this opportunity to support the families of veterans pass us by,” said Scott Bodenweber, controller at Hudson Capital Group in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Now in its third year at Florida State, EBV-F is open to the caregivers of veterans who were disabled during their military service and to surviving family members of veterans who were killed in action. Program participants begin with three weeks of online classes followed by an intense week of campus-based lectures and workshops.

“In addition, EBV-F participants learn directly from established professionals about entrepreneurship best practices and how to take existing businesses to the next level,” Blass said.

The residency program is followed by 12 months of ongoing support once participants return home.

“This is the kind of program that allows entry-level entrepreneurs to become contributors to the economic engine of their communities while pursuing their dreams, and we are thrilled to be a part of that,” Bodenweber said.

Online courses for EBV-F participants began this week and the residency portion at Florida State will take place in early September.

About the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families
This educational training program is offered by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and the Florida State University College of Business. The program leverages the flexibility inherent in small business ownership to provide a vocational and economic “path-forward” for military family members who are now caregivers to a wounded warrior — or for the surviving spouse of a military member who gave his or her life in service to the nation.

The EBV-F program integrates training in small business management with caregiver and family issues, positioning the family member to launch and grow a small business in a way that is complementary or enhancing to other family responsibilities. Modeled after the existing Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) initiative, the EBV-Families program is offered without any cost to accepted applicants.