PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Robert J. Finlay
, an entrepreneur and CEO of a construction company, understands the importance of community involvement. While some people are satisfied with participating in a 5k run or sitting through a charity auction, Finlay sees value in military-based service from a civilian perspective. According to an article
in Entrepreneur, military veterans are getting a chance to learn what it takes to make it as a business success.
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities was founded two years ago to train disabled veterans. Maj. Michael Zacchea, one of the program's biggest proponents, survived a near-death explosion in 2004 in Fallujah. After retiring and rehabilitation, Zacchea enrolled at the University of Connecticut for business administration. He learned about the entrepreneurship program piloted through Syracuse University and launched his own branch through the University of Connecticut. Since its inception, more than 60 veterans participated in Zacchea's EBV program.
"It's great to see how soldiers pick one another up even in retirement," entrepreneur Robert J. Finlay comments. "These programs are crucial to help our country's veterans find business success, especially when many of them enlisted instead of seeking out higher education. Though someone may be a high-quality soldier, it takes a different skillset -- one often supported by military training -- to retire from service and succeed."
According to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, approximately 30 percent of the United States' active duty soldiers will retire with a physical or mental injury. Traditional jobs, the article says, are difficult to hold depending on the disability. The program began through Syracuse as a non-profit, social venture funded by alumni. Since Zacchea founded the EVB program through the University of Connecticut, six other schools have started the program.
The EVB program begins with a month-long introductory self-study course that helps veterans learn the basics of running a company. Next, the students are sent to the university to participate in a 10 day bootcamp consisting of writing business plans and learning about human resource management. The camp also has a business pitch competition, where competing students try to develop business models. Finally, the veterans enter into a year-long mentorship program. The students work on building their business with the aid of local professionals and professors associated with the program. It is funded by various charities and organizations.
"It may not seem like much, but this program bridges the gap between military and civilian lifestyles," Robert J. Finlay says. "By having intimate class sizes, veterans can better relate to one another and learn how to become successful businesspeople with the help from volunteering professors."
The program, though it is only a few years old, already has its own success stories. Renee Coleman suffered from migraines and other issues, problems that affected her civilian life. After the EVB program, she founded her own diversity and anti-bullying organization. Robert J. Finlay says these programs are important to support, either as a volunteer or external business networker.
Philanthropist Robert J. Finlay
, the CEO of R.J. Finlay & Co., is a proven business success. His company is a full service construction and real estate firm. He is also active in various foundations and supports military veteran programs as well.