Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capital One Launch Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps

According to a recently published Business Wire report, forty-six percent of U.S. women veteran business owners say that being a business owner has helped them transition to civilian life after military service.  These findings come from survey released in October by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capital One Financial Corporation. More than half (55 percent) of women vets said it was their leadership experience in the military that inspired them to start their own business.

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To help women veterans fuel the growth of their small businesses and create new jobs for veterans and civilians across the country, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence has partnered with Capital One to develop the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC). The new training and mentorship program is designed to help established veteran women small business owners conquer daily business challenges and plan ahead for future growth and success.

The Count Me In and Capital One study found that veteran women owned small businesses face a number of challenges. For example, nearly half of the women surveyed (46 percent) report that they do not have written business plans in place for the next one to two years, a shortcoming that can impact growth and profitability. Learning about securing new customers, guidance in gaining access to capital, managing finances and cash flow, creating a marketing strategy and developing a clear strategy for growth were among some of the other reported needs.

To help women vets overcome these and other business challenges, Count Me In and Capital One will kick off the WVEC initiative with a conference and business pitch competition for women small business owners who are military veterans or spouses/domestic partners of vets.

The conference will be held on December 3 and 4, 2012 at Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Va.  Hundreds of women veterans and business growth experts will gather to participate in a variety of panels and workshops, some of which will be led by women veterans.

Participants will also:

  • Learn growth strategies from nationally renowned small business experts;
  • Meet women who have built their ideas into million dollar successes through Count Me In programs, who will offer advice and insights on how to think like a CEO, how to position a business for success, ways to improve work-life balance, and more;
  • Pitch their businesses for a chance to join Count Me In’s celebrated Business Accelerator Program, a six-month intensive business education program designed to help women grow their businesses significantly within 18-36 months;
  • Connect with hundreds of motivated women veteran entrepreneurs from across the country in a variety of business sectors, find new clients, meet vendors and metwirj with peers.

To help women prepare for the December 2012 WVEC Event, Count Me In will host a series of free Pitch Parties in October and November 2012in select cities across the U.S. for interested business owners. At these events, participating women can practice their two-minute business pitch and receive expert feedback and network with other women veteran entrepreneurs.

Individuals can click here to register for the WVEC December Conference and Competition and pitch parties.

Capital One has committed $800,000 and additional in-kind services such as coaching and mentoring toward the WVEC program. The program builds on Capital One’s three-year,$4.5 million commitment to support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative, a program that provides job fairs and workforce training initiatives across the United States for veterans and military spouses. In March 2012, Capital One, the U.S. Chamber and National Chamber Foundation announced “Hiring 500,000 Heroes,” a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.

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