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Celebrating Past EBV Success

Jun 09, 2017

Tallahassee, Fla. — When the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University brought the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program to FSU in 2008, the goal was simple - to help post 9/11 veterans gain the knowledge and resources needed to start and grow a business. One former participant, Chris Rawlings, is a shining example of the level of success participants can achieve when utilizing the expertise gained from the EBV program.

Rawlings, founder and CEO of Veteran L.E.D., a lighting and energy design firm with locations in Richmond, Va., and Dallas, Texas, came to the EBV at FSU in June 2014 with a few business ideas and a desire to translate his military skills to the civilian world. He credits EBV with helping him hone in on his idea and put it into a business model.

“Everybody comes to the EBV program with at least an idea, but the EBV helps you quickly realize the difference between a hobby, and what would make a profitable and scalable business,” Rawlings said. “EBV provides all the tools and resources necessary to launch a business, but inevitably it’s up to you how you leverage that training to get to the next level.”

Rawlings left EBV and started his company by going door to door selling LED light fixtures. Using the networking skills and financial knowledge he learned in the program, Rawlings began meeting with investors and peers that could help his business grow. A year later he brought in revenue of more than $1million.

Recently, Rawlings was accepted into the Executive Challenge Course with Gap International, a leading business management and growth consulting firm. The course is designed to provide a growth engine for businesses that are execution focused and deals with overcoming roadblocks.

“EBV inspired Chris and gave him the tools necessary to start his own business while steering him in the right direction,” said Rawlings’ mentor Larry Liss, Director of Veterans Business Services at Gap International. “Chris is a great example of what our veterans can accomplish by leveraging the tenacity and leadership skills gained in the military. We are excited for Chris to take his business to the next level.”

Today, Veteran L.E.D. operates in five states serving national clients with a $100 million portfolio. The company has performed contracts at the federal, state and local levels with the USDA in Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Richmond St. Benedictine School.

“There are many programs out there trying to help entrepreneurs,” said Rawlings. “What sets EBV apart is the high standard they hold the program to and providing material that is actually useful. At the end of the day, it’s just great to be in an environment of veterans with that go-getter attitude and entrepreneurial vision.”

About the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities (EBV) is an education and self-employment training program founded in 2007 and expanded to Florida State University in 2008. The EBV program is designed to take advantage of the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management. The program leverages the flexibility inherent in small business ownership to provide a vocational path forward for veterans and current military members. EBV integrates training in entrepreneurship with the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran, positioning participants to launch and grow a small business in a way that is complementary or enhancing to their lifestyle.

About the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship cultivates, trains and inspires entrepreneurial leaders through world-class executive education, applied training, public recognition and leading-edge research. Jim Moran was an automotive pioneer and an entrepreneur at heart, who at the age of seven, sold soda pop at sandlot baseball diamonds in Chicago. With a career that spanned more than six decades, he built an amazing chronicle of achievements in the automobile industry. His vision for the Jim Moran Institute was to provide opportunities that would help others become more successful business owners. A 1995 contribution from Jim and Jan Moran and JM Family Enterprises established the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at the Florida State University College of Business. Since 2011, further enhancements to the Jim Moran Institute and its outreach have been made possible by Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation. For more information, visit jimmoraninstitute.fsu.edu.

About Gap International
Gap International is a global consulting company that works with leaders to produce exceptional growth. For nearly four decades, Gap International has enabled FORTUNE 500 and Global 1000 companies and US Government agencies to operate at the highest levels of performance. The Veterans Business Services division partners with corporate veteran hiring initiatives, veteran-owned businesses, and nonprofits to maximize the unique capabilities of the veteran community.

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Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, Florida State University, College of Business
, P.O. Box 3061110, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110
Tel: 850-644-3372 Fax: 850-644-5950

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