Thursday, August 30, 2007

Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is the process of creating value by bringing together a unique combination of resources to exploit an opportunity.

My entrepreneurial journey began two years ago when I left active military service and could not find any jobs. I applied for over 200 jobs in 2 1/2 years and only got 3 hits. One was temporary and the other 2 never panned out. As a result, I decided to create opportunities of my own.

Additionally, my upbringing on a 32 foot Pacemaker Cabin Cruiser in St. Thomas, USVI, my military service guarding oil terminals in Iraq, recent up ticks in hurricanes (we lost over $100 worth of food because of Katrina), gas prices, electricity prices and foreclosures in South Florida all helped to motivate this venture.

Part of entrepreneurship is having passion. If you are not passionate about your product or service then no one will buy or use it. However, passion alone will not suffice. Passion must be tempered with mindfulness in order for us to see things how they truly are or truly can be. And it helps to have a story behind everything.

While attending the prestigious Florida International University, I used every class and every research paper/project to better understand every aspect of my business idea. This proved beneficial as my business plan won 1st Runner Up (2nd place) in FIU's New Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition.

Recently, I was 1 of 20 chosen out of hundreds of applicants to attend the inagural Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for OEF/OIF Veterans with Disabilities at Syracuse University (SU). SU is ranked #1 in the nation for Entrepreneurship on the graduate level and #2 on the undergrad level. This experience has increased my knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurship as well as nationalized my network.

The bootcamp began with a 3 week online phase and a 10 day in-class phase. SU spent over $10,000 per veteran to train us from concept/idea selection, to business plan writing, to funding the venture, to operationalize the business plan, to manage the venture and finally grow the venture.

A special thank you to FIU Entrepreneurship Center, SU's Whitman School of Business and FAU's SBDC for helping make Veterans Energy Solutions, LLC a reality!

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