College professor shares entrepreneurship insight to service members

Todd Moss, Syracuse University entrepreneurship professor, instructs the Boots to Business class at the Airman and Family Readiness Center on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 7, 2017. The two-day seminar gave military members who plan to open businesses after separating from the service, a broad overview of entrepreneurship to better prepare them for their future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

Todd Moss, Syracuse University entrepreneurship professor, instructs the Boots to Business class at the Airman and Family Readiness Center on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 7, 2017. The two-day seminar gave military members who plan to open businesses after separating from the service, a broad overview of entrepreneurship to better prepare them for their future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted a class called Boots to Business for service members who plan to open businesses upon separating from the military, Nov. 6 – 7, 2017.

Todd Moss, Syracuse University entrepreneurship professor, instructed the course to give students a broad overview of entrepreneurship so they can make smart decisions in the first steps of their future endeavors.

“Ideally, they will come to class having an idea for a business they want to start so that as we go through the material, they can think of how that material applies to their business concept,” said Moss.

Staff Sgt Stephen Ellis, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs broadcast journalist craftsman, is one of many active duty military members strongly considering closing out his military career. He said he has been seeking information about multiple options military members have when transitioning to civilian life. He thought his idea to open a guacamole stand could only exist in his imagination.

“This class reinvigorated an idea that I had honestly lost the drive for,” said Ellis. “Before I had access to so much info and a really knowledgeable professor, I had no idea where to begin with my idea. He sat with me and seriously worked through it to a point where I'm confident that it can get off the ground.”

The two-day seminar covered everything from who your business will sell to, how to legally structure your business to the degree of risk you are willing to take, to completing the framework of a business plan for a small business or proprietorship.

“This is a very engaged class,” said Moss. “This is not the kind of class where you just sit there and don’t say anything. We have small group activities where you learn from each other.”

Moss familiarized students with the information in each module but students would absorb the information and brainstorm with each other to fully understand and try out the concepts.

“I think my favorite part of the class was listening to other students' ideas and working on them in my head,” said Ellis. “We had parts of the class where we would give feedback to each other and suggest what we think will make our ideas work better, and I got a lot of good info for my idea and hopefully gave good info for other ideas.”

Ellis says he feels the class will have a significant impact on his life. The class runs once a quarter. Military members can sign up for the course on a first-come-first-serve basis through the Airman and Family Readiness Center by dialing 480-5100.