In 2010, the LSU Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, part of the E. J. Ourso College of Business, joined a consortium of universities across the country to offer the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
Syracuse University established the first EBV program in 2007, and it was so successful that the program quickly expanded to other universities to serve more veterans.
EBV offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have a disability as a result of their service in supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Through the generous support of individuals and corporations, all EBV participant costs are covered, including travel, lodging and meals.
“It exceeded my expectations in every way,” said LSU EBV participant Phil Goldstine, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1986.
Goldstine founded Fish Ranger!, Inc., a fishing and outdoor guide service, in April 2012. Through his company, Goldstine hosts guided fishing tours in Alaska during the summer and in Florida during the winter. He also sells custom rods and fish-themed art.
Goldstine shared, “I had the mindset of ‘I want to learn and I want to learn it now.’”
He added he found applicability in 90 percent of the information he learned through EBV and has steadily been able to apply it to his business. “There are lots of little victories as I move forward. Every day I look and see what progress I can make today,” he said.
EBV was designed to open the door to entrepreneurial opportunities and small business ownership to veterans by developing their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. Veteran Adam Howarth exemplifies EBV’s mission.
Following four years of service in the U.S. Army, Howarth began to conceptualize a “gourmet fitness” cycling studio that would be located in Chicago. He intends for the studio’s classes to begin with stationary cycling and end with yoga, pilates or weights.
Howarth’s business is still in the planning stages, but he has already been able to apply useful information gleaned from EBV toward marketing and personal branding. “Without EBV, I wouldn’t have been prepared for obstacles that may come,” he said.
Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.