Families of US soldiers are a tough group, and this week their skills are being tested. Florida State University is hosting an eight day business boot camp for the spouses of injured veterans. As Whitney Ray tells us, the camp teaches the spouses how to run a successful business while still taking care of their wounded warriors.
The drill instructor is tough. He started his own Taekwondo business. But today he’s not teaching hand to hand combat.
I never had any of intentions of being an entrepreneur.
Ray Marky is a black belt. He’s also an FSU business professor. Marky is one of several professors teaching military spouses how to become entrepreneurs.
Brannan Vines is one of 16 students in FSU’s business boot camp. A decision her husband made a decade ago brought her here.
“We were at home sick on September 11th. We watched the second plan hit the towers together. He said honey I’m going into the military. He was a junior in civil engineering,” said Vines.
He returned in 2006 with a brain injury and PTSD. Brannan became his fulltime caregiver and needed more money to support her family. In 2007 she launched Familyofavet.com to help people in her situation.
“Sometimes life doesn’t go as you think it will, but it goes as it’s supposed to,” said Vines.
During the eight day business boot camp, students discover where to find funding. They also learn how to be entrepreneurs without neglecting their wounded warriors.
The timing for the camp is almost perfect. Thousands of troops are scheduled to returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Plus this week the state announced its waiving business licensing fees for returning veterans.
According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation eliminating the fees could save a veteran’s family more than a thousand dollars.
“We waive the licensing fee, the application fee, so you can set up your business,” said Ken Lawson, DBPR Secretary.
With programs like this the problem becomes spreading the work. One of the most important lessons the camp teaches is where to find military benefits. The boot camp ends Tuesday. After that the students will continue to be able to call on the professors for advice