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, according to a new survey released today 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, according to the survey.
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 women small business owners who are veterans or spouses/domestic partners of veterans conquer daily business challenges and plan ahead for future growth and success.
Women vets face a number of challenges to growing their businesses, found the Count Me In and Capital One study. For example, nearly half of the women surveyed (46 percent) report that they do not have business plans in place for the next one to two years, a shortcoming that can impact growth and profitability. They also recognize that they have more to learn about building and expanding their business. Twenty-eight percent say their greatest need is learning about securing new customers, while 24 percent say they need guidance in gaining access to capital. Other issues women veteran business owners report facing include managing finances and cash flow (19 percent), creating a marketing strategy (15 percent) and developing a clear strategy for growth (14 percent).
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 on December 3 and 4, 2012. The event, to be held at Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Va., will gather hundreds of women veterans and business growth experts to participate in a variety of panels and workshops, some of which will be led by women veterans. Individuals can register for the WVEC December Conference and Competition at www.countmein.org/wvec.“At Capital One, we’re proud to support our service members who are looking for ways to translate their unique skill sets into the civilian workforce,” said John G. Finneran, Jr., General Counsel, Capital One. “Starting a business is a challenging prospect for any entrepreneur. We are committed to doing our part to help women veteran business owners succeed and watch their businesses grow. It’s important not for the only the women business owners themselves, but their families and the communities their businesses serve.”