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Vets Get Boost at Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Here are a few of those numbers: To date, the boot camps have graduated 500 students, and 65% are running their own businesses. Another 11% are gaining experience by working in the industry in which they'd eventually like to start a company, while many others have gone back to school to earn a degree.

Two factors have been crucial to the success of the EBV model. First, it combines practical, actionable training with long-term mentoring. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly for participants, it is completely free, with travel expenses, lodging and meals included.

At a recent conference for EBV graduates, the most-requested topic for further training was human resources, an indication that many companies started through the boot camps have grown beyond one-person shops. The gathering also gave graduates a chance to compare notes with others who have faced the same challenges.

"The networking was such an important piece of the conference," Kapral says. "In the military, everyone works as part of a team. They wanted that time, whether it was over dinner or during breaks, to have those conversations with their peers."

A family version of the boot camp was developed recently to help others affected by a military injury, such as caregivers of wounded warriors and spouses of soldiers who died while serving. But the program hasn't been rolled out to all the participating universities, mostly because there isn't sufficient funding. Ideally, more money would allow the boot camp model to expand to even more campuses across the country.

It's all well and good to thank veterans for their service, but there are more concrete ways to show gratitude. A donation to the EBV Foundation helps assure that wounded service members get a chance at the American entrepreneurial dream. Small-business owners can also sign up as mentors for bootcamp graduates. To find out more, visit the EBV Foundation Web site.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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