Bank’s Gift Helps Disabled Veterans Become Entrepreneurs

EBV graduates
2015 graduates of UConn’s EBV program. (Credit: UConn EBV)

People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, has given a $7,500 gift to UConn’s Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.

The gift will go toward the cost of educating veterans who go through the program. The bootcamp program is entirely funded by private donations from individuals, foundations, and corporate philanthropy made through the UConn Foundation.

The yearlong program, based at UConn’s Graduate Business Center in Hartford, gives disabled veterans the knowledge, skills and support to start and grow their own businesses and achieve financial independence. The program has helped veterans launch 97 businesses so far.

The program pays for tuition, room, board, travel and all other expenses for the roughly 25 veterans who go through the program each year.

“It’s really important that banks invest in veterans and veteran ownership,” said Bootcamp Program Manager Michael Zacchea, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. “It’s very important that veterans become bankable as they transition from the military to the civilian economy.

“For every dollar that comes into program we have produced $19,” he said. “This is really an investment by People’s Bank in the Connecticut economy.”

Established in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life in communities that People’s United Bank serves, from New York to Maine. The Foundation’s funding priorities include affordable housing, community development, and youth development.

“The UConn Foundation is proud to facilitate this important program, which not only helps veterans, but has a positive ripple effect on the state’s economy,” said Joshua R. Newton, President & CEO of the UConn Foundation.

Established in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life in communities that People’s United Bank serves, from New York to Maine. The Foundation’s funding priorities include affordable housing, community development, and youth development.

Now in its sixth year, the program has graduated a total of 135 veterans who have launched 97 businesses. Half of those businesses are in information technology or construction contracting. The rest cover a range of other ventures, including launching fitness centers and lines of clothing, starting farms, opening a biotech company, and starting a 3-D manufacturing businesses.

A typical UConn bootcamp business generates $150,000 to $200,000 in gross revenues and creates two jobs in addition to the principal after five years.

Half of the veterans who go through the program, run by UConn’s School of Business, are from Connecticut while the rest are from the northeast region.

UConn is part of an eight-school consortium administered by the Institute of Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and offers the program nationwide. It is recognized nationally as a best-in-class entrepreneurial training program.