It has been almost an entire month since our 5th annual EBV program has come to an end and our graduates are putting what they’ve learned to good use. This class has been very tech savvy and up to speed on social media since the start of the program! With that being said, they keep our FSU EBV Facebook site thriving with new stories about their businesses and words of encouragement each day! The 2012 class is an outstanding group of men and women and we could not have asked for a better group to celebrate our 5th year of EBV! A special thanks to all who came out and made this such an incredible event!
Some may wonder...how was this year any different from the others?
Well let me just say, I am so glad you asked!
It started like any normal EBV, 23 participants came from all over the country to take part in FSU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. They arrived in Tallahassee on Tuesday, June 19th, to start their nine day bootcamp. Arrival day is always exciting because up until this point the veterans have had online communication, but have yet to meet any of their classmates face-to-face. Our 2012 Opening was a highly anticipated event as J.R. Martinez, a 2008 FSU EBV Graduate, as well as, an actor and Dancing with the Stars Champion, was the keynote speaker. His motivational speech was exactly what the veterans needed to hear as their weeklong bootcamp was starting the next day whether they were ready or not! The night's festivities quickly came to an end and the veterans were on their way back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest.
Wednesday, June 20th, marked the first day of classes and we were up and running! Our speakers were flying and driving in to share their knowledge about business. Every aspect of business was discussed during the week. Some major topics included Marketing, HR, Government Contracts, and Financing. Classes started at 8:30 and ended around 5:00 each day; and, every night, each participant could be found busy at work on their business plan and presentations they would be giving on the final day of EBV.
Each day had a similar schedule but with different speakers, so let's fast forward to Saturday night. The veterans had a welcome change when they learned they did not have to work on their business plan but instead had the opportunity of a lifetime! Everyone piled onto a bus but had no idea where they were heading. The excitement was building as the bus drove around campus and finally stopped at Doak Campbell Stadium where several student athletes awaited. After throwing footballs around and just hanging out with some of the athletes, it was time to head out...to the President’s Box that is for a delicious dinner overlooking the field. The Tailgate gave our participants a chance to unwind, relax, and enjoy the reality of being at FSU with some people that they would soon call friends for life!
Sunday morning came too early for some but it was time to get back to work. However, the day dragged on as it proved to be a very rainy one. We were facing the fact that there was a tropical storm heading in our direction. All staff members worked hard on figuring out a plan of action if the storm kept coming towards us. On Monday, we had to move classes from Turnbull Conference Center to the hotel to keep everyone dry while outside the torrential downpour continued. It wasn't looking good and we had to have a back-up plan implemented ASAP. As the path of Tropical Storm Debby was directed right at Tallahassee, we decided for the safety of the participants, we would cancel the Closing/Graduation Ceremony and get everyone out of Tallahassee and back home as soon as possible.
It was an unfortunate event, but a necessary one. Tuesday morning the veterans gave their Venture Pitch presentation to a panel of judges. Upon completion, they were given their certificate and several headed home which concluded our 2012 EBV Program.
As you can see, our 5th year had a few twists and turns, but all in all, it was an unforgettable 8 days! It flew by and it's still hard to believe that another year of FSU EBV is in the books. We are so grateful for the veterans who participated and the friends that we have all made! Not to mention, we are so proud of our VeteraNoles as they have been excelling in their business ventures and being recognized for it! Several of our graduates have already been featured in articles from local press. If you would like to read any of these pieces, check them out below!! Once again, congratulations to all of our graduates this year...you did it and we are proud to have 23 new members of our VeteraNole family!
Article on Trisha Hartman: http://www.libertytribune.com/community_living/article_b1b31f61-af4c-532d-94aa-3905bf22de48.html
Article on Mark Cosby and Tammy Foster-Knight: http://www.wtsp.com/rss/article/260440/19/Ex-soldiers-take-on-a-boot-camp-for-their-brains