Born in the Bronx, Sean Stumpf ’07, often watched planes take off and land at nearby LaGuardia Airport. That childhood fascination sparked a lifelong passion for aviation that fueled his determination to become a pilot. Today, Stumpf is the one…
Veterans Thrive During Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and Warrior-Scholar Project
The National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC) was a bustling hub of activity last month, as veterans from across the country converged on campus for programs that align with the University’s historical commitment to military-connected students: the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) and the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP).
EBV participants attended classes, networking events and presentations, learning the fundamentals of running a business from accomplished entrepreneurs, professors and subject-matter experts. Since its founding in 2007, EBV has expanded to a consortium of 10 schools across the country and has graduated more than 2,300 veterans–83 percent of whom have launched ventures that are still in business. EBV graduates generated over $480 million revenue through their ventures in 2020.
Participants were provided access to a variety of professionals with expertise in marketing, business growth, supply chain and logistics and financial management. The class heard from speakers from the Small Business Administration, DLA Pipier Global Law Firm, Ensemble Video and faculty from Syracuse University and partner universities. When class was out of session, participants got a chance to enjoy meals from local food trucks and iconic Syracuse restaurants.
“What started out as a summer project for a recently retired Air Force officer and newly hired University entrepreneurship professor has grown into something I never imagined—our 15th Barnes Family EBV bootcamp, 10 consortium partners and more than 2,300 graduates who have established and grown successful small businesses across the country,” says Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation J. Michael Haynie. “It is often said that small business ownership is the engine of our economy and I believe that.”
Throughout the week, participants collaborated with instructors to build pitches for their businesses that they will use as they move forward. On their last day, the group presented their venture pitches and then attended the Barnes Family EBV closing ceremony and graduation, which provided opportunities to connect with program alumni attending the first-ever EBV reunion at the NVRC. This reunion was sparked by alumni whose donations made the two days of reunion programming possible for other alumni and participants. Reunion alumni engaged in networking, attended classes tailored to enhance their successes and enjoyed dinner with their peers.
WSP-Syracuse Academic Boot Camp participants had the opportunity to gain experience from University faculty, receive mentoring from fellow student veterans and begin to adjust to a formal learning environment. A recent study by the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that WSP is the only national program of its kind dedicated to veterans that not only provides targeted support for academic success, but improves social connection and relationships with both faculty and nonveteran students.
“The transition from military service to higher education post-service can be intimidating,” says Lauren Pyland, operations manager for the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. “We have seen firsthand the positive impact Warrior-Scholar Project can have on a transitioning service member’s acclimation into the campus community. We are proud to be hosting our eighth WSP program at Syracuse University and excited to have participants on campus for not only a humanities week, but a business/entrepreneurship week as well this year,”
The WSP group was also exposed to programming meant to inspire future entrepreneurs. Participants had opportunities to interact with IVMF staff and University professors, and heard from Thomas Karam, a senior instructor with the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University. WSP students had a chance to network with EBV students as well during a shared dinner at a local Syracuse restaurant.
“Had I not gone to WSP, I probably would be more anxious to go back to school full-time,” says Tristan Whipps, WSP participant and incoming student. “WSP gave me the skills to succeed in the classroom after being in the military where you lose some of those educational skills.”
For more information about the Warrior-Scholar Project, visit the WSP website.