FSU Entrepreneurial Bootcamp Helps Disabled Veterans

TALLAHASSEE — Army veteran Andrew Wyatt credits Florida State University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities with jump-starting his career after he was wounded in Iraq.

“I am sitting in front of an ocean of business cards from some of the highest corporate executives from across the country, all of whom want nothing more than to lend a hand in seeing me and other service-disabled veterans succeed in our ventures,” Wyatt wrote Secretary of the Army Pete Geren after attending the boot camp this past June. Wyatt is starting his own medical equipment business catering to government contracts.

The FSU College of Business wants to repeat its successful boot camp, but that will take continued monetary support. The more than $100,000 raised for the initial boot camp allowed FSU to offer the educational experience free to participating veterans.

“Starting over can be difficult,” Dean Caryn Beck-Dudley said. “Equipping veterans with invaluable skills needed to succeed in starting and owning a business will go a long way in not only transforming lives but also rebooting the economy.”

Boot camp participants benefited from online study, a nine-day stay at FSU, and 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship from faculty experts. They engaged in experiential workshops to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers and develop a marketing strategy that is most effective for their business model. They also had sessions with top CEOs who not only provided helpful business advice gleaned from their careers but also mentored participants throughout the year.

Randy Blass, director of the boot camp and an assistant in organizational behavior in FSU’s Department of Management, is seeking a primary sponsor for this social entrepreneurship venture. Corporate or individual donors can contact him for more information at (850) 644-7859 or rblass@cob.fsu.edu.

For other ways to support the program, e-mail Jill Ashton, development director for the College of Business, at jcashton@cob.fsu.edu.

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