UConn Foundation receives grant from Rotary Club of Ridgefield

The UConn Foundation has received a $7,500 grant from the Rotary Club of Ridgefield that will support the UConn School of Business’ Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a program offering cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management for post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to the country.

The Club hosted a presentation to its members by Lt. Col. Michael Zacchea (USMC retired), director of the EBV program.

“This grant is an incredible help for our program,” he said. “It covers the cost of the veterans traveling to Hartford for the 10-day boot camp.”

The intensive 10-day bootcamp is held at the UConn School of Business’ Graduate Business Learning Center in Hartford. The UConn School of Business is one of 10 nationally-ranked business schools and universities nationwide that offer the EBV program. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans is widely recognized as being best in class (in veteran entrepreneurship) in the country. Since 2010, UConn’s program has helped many veteran graduates launch their own businesses and attain economic self-sufficiency.

“We have completed seven classes,” said Zacchea. “We’ve graduated 157 veterans, who have started 114 for-profit businesses and 11 non-profits, which have produced more than $35 million in gross revenues and employ more than 300 people. We’ve also helped 13 veterans get into a career-track higher education, and another 29 find career-track employment.”

The Rotary Club of Ridgefield runs a program called Fly the Colors, which promotes flying the national colors throughout the town. Through this program, the Club raises money for nonprofit causes. The Rotary Club of Ridgefield was introduced to the EBV by Dick Truitt, a Korean war veteran, former Marine, and current Commandant of the Ridgefield Marine Corps League.

“Donating the proceeds from the Fly the Colors program to help veterans start businesses just made sense,” said Sue Manning, former First Selectman of Ridgefield and Rotary Club member. “We’ve been looking for a program like this (EBV) to support.”

For more information about UConn’s EBV program, and to see a video about how veterans transform from “warriors to entrepreneurs,” visit http://ebv.business.uconn.edu.