Win-Win-Win for Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) Graduates

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It's a win-win-win for EBV graduates! The Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) is a consortium of 10 major universities that includes Syracuse University, St. Joseph's University, Purdue University and seven others across the United States. This EBV Network provides concentrated entrepreneurial support for an elite group of veterans who are also provided superior transitional assistance for starting a small business, including initial support from lawyers, accountants and consultants who can complement any EBV graduate company's management team. The ability for an EBV company to access and accelerate these essentially cost-free professional services has encouraged some EBV graduates to leverage those advantages and lead social enterprises to build self-sustainable social enterprises. 

An example of what can be possible is The Veterans Corporation (TVC), an affiliate of Veterans Business Services (VBS), a Purdue EBV Graduate company. TVC secured funding from the McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball for a private service disabled veteran-led company, Vets Prevail. This support helped forge other key collaboration partners and TVC provided it $270,000 of funding to prove the efficacy of their theories on an initial cohort of 400 Veterans with PTSD. Vets Prevail developed an online engagement system based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has since benefited over 15,000 veterans with PTSD. Not only is Vets Prevail innovative and now a profitable private company, its proven model is lowering mental health costs and improving the VA's capacity to deliver mental health services. A study in 2013 showed that the VA could save as much as 14 times each private dollar it spent for Vets Prevail mental health services. This type of collaboration creates a win-win-win for veterans, taxpayers and solving mental health issues in society as a whole. 

The funding described previously was followed by number of additional private foundation grants from Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and others (all private funders). TVC also led the charge to help Vets Prevail win a $50,000 Pepsi Challenge Grant to help market and promote their service. The final result: a sustainable, veteran-owned company that greatly impacts social good.

The Purdue Alumni EBV Social Enterprise Train is leaving the station!

TVC's original success has led to a plan to prioritize social enterprise franchises led by combat veterans. The new MyVA reorganization, instituted in 2015 by Secretary McDonald, calls for creating a "customer-centric" environment in which public private partnerships will play a key role in delivery of social services for veterans. Several Purdue EBV companies already promote and share a mission of improving mental health (their markets include both civilians and veterans who suffer and/or are stigmatized by their mental health conditions). By aligning their missions with foundations and the common goals of the Veterans Administration for improving mental health services, the EBV graduates can accelerate mental health impact not only for veterans but can also literally change the way local economies address mental health issues. 

VBS is convinced that partnerships should have a common thread of generating collaborations between veterans, foundations and local communities. The social enterprise structure then has a better chance of being self-sustaining.

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