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Deere CEO provides support for business-minded vets

Thanks to a gift from Deere CEO and Chairman Sam Allen, some veterans will receive seed grants to pursue their business dreams. Allen, a 1975 Industrial Management graduate from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, has given the university a $250,000 gift to fund the Samuel Allen EBV Venture Capital Fund.

The fund will be available to students participating in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).  Purdue is one of eight universities around the country that teach the bootcamp, a three-phase program aimed at helping post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities to start their own businesses.

P. Christopher Earley, Dean and James Brooke Henderson Professor of Management at the Krannert School, announced the gift at the kickoff dinner for the fourth Purdue EBV class on October 26.

"The EBV program is one of the most important undertakings of the Krannert School," Earley says. "Our aim is provide an experience that is transformational for these men and women who have given so much of themselves.

"A grant in the magnitude of $2,000 could be enough to help a veteran launch a business that can help make our country's economy stronger. We hold the same expectations for our EBV students as our other Krannert students, and this gift will have an enormous impact on our next wave of veteran entrepreneurs."

Allen has been Deere since his graduation from Purdue in 1975. He worked his way up the organization before assuming the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in 2009. He has been Chairman and CEO since 2010. In addition to his role at Deere, he serves as Chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and is a member of the board of directors of Whirlpool Corp.

Purdue's 2012 EBV class of 27 veterans is its largest in the four years it has offered the program. Students are accepted into the program based on the quality of their proposals for starting their own business. The program begins with a self-study session in which veterans complete courses through online discussions moderated by university faculty.

The second phase is an intensive, on-campus session where participants learn to develop their own business concepts and understand the basic elements of small-business management. This year, for the first time, the residency is split between Indianapolis and West Lafayette. The third phase is an ongoing mentorship with industry and faculty experts as well as Purdue University students.

The other universities involved in the EBV consortium are Syracuse University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Cornell University, Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Connecticut.