Women Veterans Show the Entrepreneurial Spirit
By Debbie Gregory.
Women veterans are using their military training to take the small business world by storm
A recent survey of 800 women veterans, who are also business owners, shows that the majority of those women say their military leadership experiences inspired them to start their own businesses. Capital One Financial Corporation and Count Me In, a national nonprofit that helps women grow their small businesses into enterprises, are once again committing thousands of dollars to help women veterans grow their businesses.
Last year, the partnership committed more than $800,000 over three years to fund a business training program called Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC).
“Women with military experience have focus and discipline,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In. “It’s important to have a creative idea, but that’s only one part of being a successful entrepreneur.”
Women veterans repeatedly have pointed to military skills, such as training in organizational skills, the ability to adapt quickly to changing environments, technology and project management as the stepping stones for their business endeavors. Of the survey takers, 62 percent said they are comfortable taking calculated business risks, ever since serving in the military.
The businesses run by WVEC program participants range from cybersecurity and technology firms established by women who had top secret security clearance, to a home organizing business by a veteran who had moved seventeen times with her four children during eighteen years of military service.
Kristina Guerrero spent eight years piloting C-130 transport planes and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. As a veteran, she has created a line of energy bars for dogs that offer pet owners a nutritious and easy travel meal for their pups. As part of the WVEC program, Guerrero has received coaching, training and support, not just from her instructors, but from fellow participants.
“You are part of this incredibly talented group of women, in a program where their only interest is ensuring that you succeed. The camaraderie alone is very powerful. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be part of this,” she said.