Combat Veterans With Ptsd: Stigma or Solution to an Enigma?

Everyone seems to want to help Combat Veterans who through necessity and sometimes via a stigma are drawn to self-employment via franchising and small business entrepreneurship.

A problem however is there are so many educational efforts, government initiatives with a plethora of different small business service providers and multiple nonprofit mentoring platforms that just to develop  a personal strategy to use these resources is a mystery. Some of the national business resource acronyms for Veterans are as follows: ACP, CVE, EBV, SDBC, SBA, CDFI, B2B, PBC, SVA, SCORE, PTAC, WBC, VRE, VIP, VBOC, B2BR, DBED, VSO, CDC, MyVA and TAP. Clearly there’s enough of them to make are anyone’s head spin out of control when looking for solutions.  However, where there is need there are usually opportunities for someone too.

Is a community development “franchise” driven by Combat Veterans such an opportunity?

And why Combat Veterans?

One can make a case that there’s an opportunity for any community to enhance their economic development plans by partnering with Combat Veterans who can also leverage and accelerate the above mentioned acronyms. Combat Veterans could make the process more consistent by maniacally focusing on “customizing” Veteran small business cases. . So why not encourage Combat Veterans themselves to develop new community methods and share their small business resource strategies with their communities, real time while they progress?

Combat Veterans with PTSD may just be the right people to unravel many community enigmas. The problem isn’t that the individual resources aren’t there or that their too complex in and of themselves. The problem is that there is no mechanism for coordination and synchronization, a true system! A number of Combat Veteran Entrepreneurs with PTSD now believe that by helping each other they can solve their own problems and use their own process experience with the available resources to help unravel similar problems in multiple communities. These Veterans have real time experience in how to customize all the acronyms above for a fair and balanced economic development strategy.

EBV Graduates –a new band of combat brothers!

Combat veterans are uniquely suited to gain rapport and respect of community leaders who also desperately need fresh efforts to create more prosperity and economic equality. A group of these forward thinking brothers in arms are graduates of the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) at Purdue University. EBV is an elite entrepreneurial program which teaches its graduates to use resources effectively. They form unique relationships with serious on-call mentors and leverage resources in a way not typically available to the general veteran population or local communities. To date 1500 EVB graduates have received special training on the “process” of using the acronyms mentioned above. Now fortunately some these combat veterans are intent on sharing their knowledge and improving the process for other Veterans. Using a multi-tier mentoring approach they can move faster in a holistic fashion.

An example of a EBV graduate business with community synergy for all of Baltimore is described by its founder, De’Andre Wells below:

American Group Fitness-AGX, L.L.C. is a new entrance business that lets its customers pursue a fun and efficient cardiovascular workout. We live in a society where we all are time-poor; we want to get in, get out, know that we’ve worked as hard as we can and that we’re done for the day. Our obstacle course and adaptive training facility’s mission is to provide an alternative to negative addictions by introducing positive physical, mental, and emotional healthy addictions. In a team driven setting, our aim is to create fitness models that will challenge the physical, mental and emotional agility of each client. Obsession, camaraderie, music, movement, and extreme motivation drive these fitness models. Our team driven model towards “positive addictions” is a legitimate reality in that physical and mental wellness can be attained if we trade our negative addictions (smoking, drinking, food, spending, and drugs) for positive addictions such as running, swimming, obstacle course training, spin classes, etc. Our clients can become creative and uninhibited towards living with boldness. AGX’s goal is to stamp out a new community model that seeks to produce positive addictions through group reliance, group resiliency and group stability.

AGX and other EBV graduates like March on Veterans and A Few Good Leaders offer concepts that have common goals such as fighting the stigma of PTSD. Their missions overlap, are sustainable and connect with communities as well. When partnered with communities these elite EBV graduates can get unique support from major corporations, many of which have worthy community development and diversity goals. These same corporations are yearning for practical and self-supporting solutions that connect with and improve communities. The unique things that Combat Veterans and Community players have in common to solve are diversity issues and sustainability. Most major institutions, especially corporations, are searching for solutions to these same issues.  An EBV Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) also offers advantages for communities because the goods and services they deliver provide procurement advantages that can leverage economic development strategies.

So maybe these EBV graduates can help others eliminate stigmas like PTSD for Veterans and solve enigmas for themselves and communities as well. We certainly hope they do.

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