Capital One Financial Corporation and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence today announced that they will honor women veteran business owners from across the country who have successfully launched or grown their own businesses, generating new job opportunities and creating a ripple effect in economic growth in communities nationwide. The 24 women veteran entrepreneurs, who represent the first graduating class of the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) program, will be honored during a special graduation ceremony on April 15, 2014, in Washington, DC. WVEC, the result of an ongoing partnership between Capital One and Count Me In, is a training and mentorship program designed to help established women small business owners who are veterans, spouses/domestic partners, or daughters of veterans conquer daily business challenges and plan ahead for future growth and success. The program is made possible as part of Capital One’s $800,000 commitment to Count Me In to support of women veterans and small businesses. “For many aspiring small business owners, the prospect of starting and growing a new business can be daunting, but coaching and mentoring can help to ease that start-up learning curve,” said Celia Edwards Karam, Washington DC Market President, Capital One Bank. “Through our partnership with Count Me In, we are leveraging our expertise in small business development to help drive the success of talented and entrepreneurial women veterans and support the economic growth of our whole community. At Capital One, we’re proud to support our veterans during this important – and exciting – transition.” The first WVEC graduation will take place during the third WVEC Conference, which will also provide new participants with an opportunity to meet and network with other women entrepreneurs and will feature a business pitch competition that will allow women business owners a chance to give a two-minute business pitch and receive real-time, expert feedback to help them hone their concepts. The winners of the competition will join Count Me In’s celebrated Business Accelerator Program, a nine-month intensive business education program designed to help women grow their businesses significantly within 18 to 36 months. In addition, attendees will participate in a variety of panels and workshops, some of which will be led by established women veteran small business owners. Capital One small business experts will also offer coaching and mentoring during the event.