The Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) is a consortium of ten major universities which include Syracuse University, St. Joseph’s University, Purdue University and seven others across the United States.
This EBV Network provides concentrated entrepreneurial support for an elite group of Veterans who are also provided superior transitional assistance for starting a small business including initial support from lawyers, accountants, consultants that can complement any EBV graduate company’s management team. The ability for an EBV company to access and accelerate these essentially cost free professional services has encouraged some EBV graduates to leverage those advantages and lead social enterprises to build self-sustainable social enterprises.
An example of what can be possible is The Veterans Corporation’s (TVC), an affiliate of Veterans Business Services (VBS), a Purdue EBV Graduate company. TVC secured funding from the McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball for a private Service Disabled Veteran led company, VetsPrevail.
This support helped forge other key collaboration partners and TVC provided it $270,000 of funding from TVC to prove the efficacy of their theories on an initial cohort of 400 Veterans with PTSD. Vetsprevail developed an online engagement system based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) which has since benefited over 15,000 Veterans with PTSD.
Not only is Vetsprevail innovative and now a profitable private company, its proven model is lowering mental health costs and improving VA’s capacity to deliver mental health services. A study in 2013 showed that the VA could save as much as 14 times each private dollar it spent for VetsPrevail mental health services. This type of collaboration creates a win-win-win for Veterans, taxpayers and solving mental health issues in society as a whole.
The funding described previously was followed by a number of additional private foundation grants from Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and others (all private funders). TVC also led the charge to help Vetsprevail win a $50,000 Pepsi Challenge Grant to help market and promote their service. The final result: a sustainable Veteran owned company that greatly impacts social good.
TVC’s original success has led to a plan to prioritize social enterprise franchises led by Combat Veterans. The new MyVA reorganization, instituted in 2015 by Secretary McDonald, calls for creating a “customer centric” environment in which public private partnerships will play a key role in delivery of social services for Veterans. Several Purdue EBV companies already promote and share a mission of improving mental health (their markets include both civilians and veterans who suffer and/or are stigmatized by their mental health conditions).
By aligning their missions with Foundations and the common goals of the Veterans Administration for improving mental health services. EBV graduates can accelerate mental health impact not only for veterans but can also literally change the way local economies address mental health issues.
VBS is convinced that it should facilitate partnerships that would have a common thread of generating collaborations between Veterans, Foundations and local communities. The social enterprise structure then has a better chance of being self-sustaining
Some of the VBS Social Enterprise Franchises in development led by EBV Combat Veterans include the following business sectors:
- Physical Fitness
- Automotive Restoration
- Solar Energy Conservation
Stay tuned for “Boots2Business” for Social Enterprises ™.
VBS Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, is a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises: The Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim intends to keep on ‘advocating’ for veterans in franchising.