Which Corporation Is Building a National Network For Veteran Entrepreneurs?

Every now and then, we come across a bit of news that meshes two of the more timely philanthropic issues of the day.

Developments of out Syracuse, New York, provide a textbook example of the phenomenon, where Lockheed Martin Corporation renewed its partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.

In doing so, Lockheed doubled down on supporting many institute initiatives geared toward helping veterans thrive in the civilian workforce, most notably the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a cutting-edge entrepreneurship and small business management training program to post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities.

Lockheed's commitment of $1 million over the next three years will benefit the IVMF's veteran entrepreneurship programs and the AmericaServes program focused on helping veterans and military families make the transition to post-service life.

Recent IP higher education coverage has focused on various alumni-funded entrepreneurship efforts, including a $4.1 million gift to Michigan State University from alumnus Robert K. Burgess and a $5.1 million endowment giftfrom Moxie Foundation CEO and Chairman Irwin Zahn to San Diego State University. These gifts tend to either establish or strengthen existing entrepreneurship centers on campus and tailor their efforts towards the larger student population.

Lockheed's work with the IVMF in the higher ed entrepreneurship space obviously points to a more targeted audience. Which brings us to the second important (and equally obvious) philanthropic trend at play here: job training for America's military veterans.

Not surprisingly, we've also spent a lot of time talking about how foundations are helping veterans acclimate themselves to the modern workforce. The Bank of America Foundation, for example, supports New Hampshire Harbor Homes' Veteran Reintegration Program, which provides veterans with, among other things, a strategy for attaining and retaining meaningful employment.

The Lockheed-supported Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities takes a similar approach, but with a heightened focus on—you guessed—entrepreneurship and small business management. More specifically, Lockheed understands the specific kinds of technical skills that veterans have, and the extent to which, if properly utilized, they can help them attain sustainable civilian employment. The also understand the power of networking.

To quote the press release, by leveraging the IVMF's national program offerings and acknowledged leadership role in community engagement and connectedness, Lockheed will be "afforded the opportunity to quickly (and with impact) seed and cultivate connections in key markets and customer segments."

What's more, Lockheed's past support of our nation's veteran entrepreneurs will "quickly scale" through new and novel programming and resources such as the Coalition for Veteran Owned Businesses (CVOB) and the National Center of Excellence (CoE) for Veteran Entrepreneurship.

In other words, this is a highly tactical operation.

We recently profiled Lockheed's efforts in supporting STEM education, but it's certainly worth noting that they've been an active partner of the IVMF and Syracuse University's veterans programs for nearly a decade. When the university launched the IVMF back in 2011, Lockheed made a "financial commitment," thereby making it the Institute's first One-Star Corporate Partner.