Free entrepreneurship training opens the door to business ownership for veterans

University of Missouri’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans helps vets get boots on the ground for their small businesses.

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Sept. 24, 2021

“I’ve learned so much!” That was the first remark that Brian Wood, a Marine Corps veteran from Belleville, Illinois, said when asked about his experience in the University of Missouri’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) held in August. “The connections we make benefit all of us. Seeing the passion everyone has for their business is amazing,” he said.

This year, MU is one of seven universities offering EBV programs that teach participants key concepts of business ownership through workshops and lessons from entrepreneurial leaders and local partners.

Greg Bier, executive director of entrepreneurship programs at MU, said EBV leverages the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer entrepreneurship training and small business management to veterans — free of charge. The Veterans United Foundation has funded and supported MU’s EBV program since its inception in 2015.

“This is the sixth year we’ve been able to host veterans from around the country for this on-campus training,” Bier said. “The information and networking opportunities we provide for them supports their dream of launching and growing a small business.”

EBV participants complete a 30-day, online course in business fundamentals and research before attending a nine-day, intense residency like the one MU hosts. Phase three of the program provides the veterans with ongoing technical assistance from faculty experts and other partners.

Veterans who participate in EBV gain knowledge in legal issues in small business, understanding markets, validating business ideas, financing options and more.

“The success of this program is due to the commitment of MU’s entrepreneurship staff and the excitement and determination of the veterans,” said Bill Turpin, associate vice chancellor of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization. “Veterans make excellent entrepreneurs because of the skills they’ve learned in the military. They are disciplined, hardworking, and their resiliency is good for business growth.”

Read more from the Office of Research and Economic Development

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