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Purdue EBV alums among winners at the 2018 Veteran EDGE conference

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A pair of alumni from the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management recently took home a share of $75,000 in prize money at the 2018 Veteran EDGE Conference held Feb. 16-18 in Austin, Texas, sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.

Mike Waldron, executive director of 23rd Veteran and a 2013 Purdue EBV graduate, won a second-place prize of $15,000 for the Best Venture Impacting Veterans in the VetSmallBiz Growth Challenge competition. The Esko, Minnesota, company provides a long-term transition process for veterans leaving the military, as well as for those who were never properly transitioned.

“After studying entrepreneurship at Purdue University and learning the science behind my growth, I dedicated my life to growing this organization so that we can show other veterans a clear path to a successful, meaningful life,” says Waldron, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Gary Peterson, a U.S. Air Force veteran and 2017 graduate of the Purdue EBV program, won $5,000 for the Best Social Venture. His company, One Community Auto LLC, refurbishes and sells donated cars in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to help area charities raise money for their causes.

“I am so grateful to Purdue and the Krannert School of Management for helping me focus on my next mission in life — entrepreneurship and community service,” Peterson says. “I have been so honored to be part of these programs that help support veterans in their post-service pursuits. Winning the award validates the value of these programs and makes me proud to be a Boilermaker.”

The Veteran EDGE event was dedicated solely to veteran and military spouse business owners and the ecosystem that supports them. During this three-day conference and training event, stakeholders, IVMF program graduates, and veteran and military spouse-owned businesses from around the country gathered to network, and learn about the latest opportunities, best practices, and resources available to their growing companies.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 U.S. Armed Forces veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The program is offered by a consortium of schools that includes Syracuse University, Florida State University, UCLA, Texas A&M, University of Connecticut, Purdue University, Louisiana State University, Cornell University, Saint Joseph’s University, and the University of Missouri. 

Purdue University will offer its next EBV program October 26 through November 3, 2018 at the West Lafayette campus. Interested veterans can apply at http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/apply-to-the-ebv/