Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- It has been a great resource for veterans to launch a business, but Syracuse University is expanding it to military families. The entrepreneurship bootcamp for veterans families is wrapping up an intensive week long program.
A month of online work has led a group of 22 to campus, where some are getting a real dose of reality about what it takes to start a small business.
"I had a little bit of small business experience, but I didn't know how to run that business. I didn't really know the procedure of it,” explained Azeita Taylor who’s husband was wounded in Afghanistan.
Lindsey Lennon said, “Sometimes, it’s a little bit painful to see that this is what the work is going to entail and these are all the processes I’m going to have to go through, but it’s completely encouraging to see people who’ve been through the program and have successful businesses to see people who are in the middle, they’re kind of the breaking even point.”
One of the mottoes here for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families is to never let cost be a barrier to world class programs and that's why with the bootcamps IVMF picks up all the costs for the participants.
"A lot of what I'll do is let them know it’s okay to come and grab this training and you're not going to take a seat from someone else, this is a perfect fit for you,” explained Program Manager Jared Lyon. "As a veteran myself I know the need in this community and I feel very lucky that everyday we look to fill that need."
There are many who have come from places like Afghanistan wounded and disabled, like Azeita Taylor’s husband. The program, she says, was more than just nuts and bolts about being an entrepreneur.
"To believe in myself, to be able to to go out and gather people from my community, which is one of the things I was passionate about was doing things for the community and making a profit at it and making sure that it survives,” Taylor said.
“The emotions and the connections and just the self confidence, everything that comes along with being here, I could have never anticipated," Lennon continued.
Lennon is well on her way to a doctorate, but decided to take this opportunity and is hoping to use this program to join her husband’s new business, one he started after being an EBV participant last summer. Lyon says over half of the people who come through the bootcamp programs at SU start their own business and almost 90 percent are still in business.