UConn’s Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities has received a $37,500 grant from the Newman’s Own Award program to support its training for veterans in entrepreneurship and small business management, the UConn Foundation announced today.
The award is provided through a competition established by the Newman’s Own Foundation, the Fisher House Foundation, and the Military Times part of Gannett Government Media Corporation to reward programs that benefit service men and women and their families. The UConn Foundation applied for the grant on behalf of the EBV program and will receive the funds, which will then be distributed to the program.
At the awards ceremony Wednesday at the Pentagon, Tom Indoe, president and chief operating officer of Newman’s Own, said, “We have been collaborating since 1999 with a primary mission: recognize these incredibly innovative and selfless ideas that help improve the quality of life for the military community and help make dreams possible. Newman’s Own is proud to be part of this worthwhile endeavor.”
UConn’s EBV was one of eight programs selected from nearly 300 applications to receive a grant. Since it began in 1999, the annual competition has recognized 158 programs with awards totaling more than $1.1 million.
The UConn Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities provides disabled veterans with the knowledge, skills, and support to start and grow their own businesses and attain economic self-sufficiency. Since it began in 2010, UConn’s EBV program has helped more than 25 veterans open 27 businesses.
“The grant will provide significant support,” says Michael Zacchea, LtCol USMC (ret), who manages the program. “It’s enough to sponsor 2.5 veterans for the entire year-long program, but, more importantly, this grant will have a significant ‘ripple effect’ on our veterans and our state’s economy.”
Over the past four years, veteran businesses started through the UConn EBV have provided a 7-to-1 return on capital, says Zacchea. A typical UConn EBV business after four years has $150,000 – $200,000 in gross revenues and creates two jobs in addition to the principal. “By essentially covering the cost of 2.5 veterans for the year, I expect to see two businesses eventually, creating six jobs and about $300,000 – $400,000 in gross revenues annually,” he added.
The UConn is part of an eight-school consortium offering the EBV program nationwide.