This year, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program turns ten.
If this is your first time hearing of the EBV, the program was created to provide experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business ownership for post 9/11 veterans and their families.
The EBV holds a special place in my heart. I attended the program in 2011, right before we started Relan and while I was pregnant with my son, Mattox. As much as I loved the Army, I knew I wanted to work for myself and run a business. When I found out about EBV, I knew it was the right direction for me.
One of the biggest things I loved about the Army was the support system and feeling of always having a family away from home. The Army helps us all develop useful skills, but sometimes it is hard to relate those skills to the civilian world. Becoming a part of EBV allowed me to still feel the family and camaraderie I enjoyed so much while in the Army, and it also taught me how to implement all of my skills into a business I was in charge of rather than at a well-oiled system like the Army. The program helped me build a strong foundation and get up and running as an aspiring entrepreneur, and helped Relan grow into the thriving business it is today.
If you’re just starting out on the entrepreneurial journey, your support system is critical to your success.
It is impossible to be an entrepreneur alone! EBV helped introduce me to other like-minded people and a supportive faculty that I could turn to with questions or concerns. It is also rewarding to be able to support fellow veterans on the next step of their journey.
One of the best things about EBV, though, are the alumni events and networking opportunities. Though it’s been 5 years since I went through the program, I have attended their annual conference and alumni events at UCLA. Through the EBV, I’ve been exposed to other veteran programs like the Jonas Project, an organization that supports veterans during their first two years in business (and if you’re a business owner, you know how trying those first couple of years can be!), and V-Wise, an organization dedicated to helping female veteran entrepreneurs succeed.
Being a veteran is a proud part of my identity and being able to blend my veteran roots with my love for entrepreneurship and Relan has made this entire journey more meaningful. Which is why I am so honored to be a part of the EBV’s 10 years, 10 universities feature.