Founded at UConn in 2009, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program offers experiential training in entrepreneurship and small-business management to post-9/11 U.S. veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country at no cost. In the past decade, the program has graduated 218 Veterans and caregivers who have launched 175 businesses, producing more than $150 million in gross revenues, and creating 430 jobs. In addition, 34 graduates have found career-track, full-time employment, and 21 have accessed career-track educational opportunities.
“The EBV took all the guess work out of it. If I didn’t take this course, it would have taken me years to figure it out on my own. The EBV has been priceless for me,” shares Tony Audette, Audette Motorcycle founder and president, who served a nine-month combat tour in Afghanistan and went through the program.
The program is run by Michael Zacchea, a combat-wounded, medically-retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, who deployed as the first U.S. military adviser during the war in Iraq. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor in combat and the Purple Heart for his wounds. This Veteran’s Day will mark the 17th anniversary of a wound that nearly cost him his life.
With all of this in mind, Tom O’Brien, UConn finance professor emeriti and a longtime supporter of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program, stepped forward to show his support for the program, which took a hit during Covid. Tom has offered to match donations up to $100,000 to the EBV fund. Please join us in supporting the EBV program and participating professor emeriti Tom O’Brien’s match.