Veterans looking to start their own businesses should be aware of the resources at their disposal.
I recently sat down with Ralph Galati, a veteran, former POW and long-time friend who is making a real difference in the lives of veterans. He is committed to helping veterans discover the spark and enthusiasm for starting their own business by providing the tools and resources they need to be successful.
Galati works as the Director of the Office of Veteran Services at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he spearheads two programs that are creating prepared, savvy businesspeople. His passion is to help discover and mold the veteran entrepreneur.
The first initiative, "Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV)," offers post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities an intensive educational training program. It was started by Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families and currently has 10 schools participating including St. Joe’s, Cornell, Texas A&M and UCLA. It offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management. The program is offered entirely free to veterans and relies on the generosity of individuals to remain successful.
The second program offered at St. Joe's is a Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart program available to any honorably discharged vet. Participants complete online classes to develop a business plan, then spend seven days on campus with guest lecturers, panel discussions, one-on-one mentoring, and a business plan pitch. They also receive additional services such as website development, tax and accounting assistance and mentoring.
Galati encourages veterans to check out these programs: "If you are a veteran with an honorable discharge and want to start your own business, this will give you a running start with incredible resources – all at no cost." The programs are funded by donations.
Ralph tells me that the hardest part is actually finding participants for these programs because people just don’t know about the opportunities. This amazes me, so I encourage you to help us get the word out! Share these great programs with your friends and colleagues in the military community. With a robust program at no cost to the veterans, we are sure if the word gets out, people will be lining up for this!
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