New program aims to help female veterans-turned-entrepreneurs

With one in five post-9/11 female veterans temporarily locked out of the job market, hundreds of ex-military women have discovered a promising financial side door: self-employment.

A new survey of 800 female veterans-turned-entrepreneurs finds that 55 percent say the leadership skills they learned in uniform ultimately pushed them to become their own boss.

But nearly half of those same women acknowledge they don’t have a business plan to help navigate their next two years, while 28 percent report their greatest need is learning how to find and retain new customers, according to the poll conducted by Capital One Financial Corporation and Count Me In For Women's Economic Independence, a nonprofit.

To help bolster the growing pool of female veterans who have launched small businesses — and, simultaneously, create more jobs for ex-service members — Capital One and Count Me In have partnered to launch the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC).

Hatched as a training and mentorship program, WVEC aims to help female small business owners who are veterans (as well as their spouses or domestic partners) overcome common entrepreneurial pitfalls and plot future revenue growth.

For seed money, Capital One said it has committed $800,000 toward the program.

“The energy and motivation that women veterans bring to their business ventures is unmatched, and we are very excited to use our experience helping women reach their entrepreneurial potential to help this important — and growing — group of new entrepreneurs,” Nell Merlino, founder and President of Count Me In, said in a prepared statement.

Beyond the money and research, Count Me In and Capital One plan to christen the WVEC initiative with a conference and business-pitch competition for women small business owners who are military veterans on Dec. 3 and 4. The event is slated to take place in McLean, Va., and is expected to attract hundreds of women veterans and business growth experts to participate in a variety of panels and workshops — some led by women veterans.

To help women prepare for the December WEVC event, Count Me In also will host for business owners a series of free “pitch parties” in select U.S. cities. At those gatherings, participating women can practice their two-minute business pitches and get instant, expert feedback, the nonprofit said. Individuals can register for the WVEC pitch parties and the December conference by clicking hmere.

More content from

Follow US news from on Twitter and Facebook

Discuss this post

good luck ladies...............

    Reply#1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:05 AM EDT

    Is there no end to the perfidy of these evil banks?

      #1.1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:45 AM EDT

      Capital One has placed $800,000 towards SEED MONEY. If 800 Female Vets open up a Lemonaide Stand, they might receive $1,000 each, IF THEY QUALIFY, towards their new adventure, being an entrepreneur, and moving into a new Career. Everyone knows it takes money to make money.

        #1.2 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:58 PM EDT

        Nice, but why directed toward Women Only Veterans ? I know their Spouses can be included but isn't this discrimination since more men seem to be out of work, and most of the homeless are still men. Apparently Capital One believes only Women are important.

        • 5 votes
        Reply#2 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:19 AM EDT

        That was my thought as well. In this country discrimination is against the law unless it's discrimination against a white male.

        • 1 vote
        #2.1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:46 AM EDT

        See its not discrimination unless someone is specifically excluded. I bet if you made a fuss they would let a man in. Thats how they get away with it because its not discrimination legally to offer something specifically to a demographic but if you try and exclude someone then legally it is discrimination...

        • 1 vote
        #2.2 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:50 AM EDT

        I bet if you made a fuss they would let a man in.

        Oh to be young and naive. Just because they SHOULD, doesn't mean they WOULD.

        • 1 vote
        #2.3 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:57 AM EDT

        Spo de o de:

        The program doesn't discriminate against women veterans. This program is in place to level the field and allow more women veterans to have the same opportunities as male veterans do. Women is the U.S. still face an "ice skating uphill" mountain of discrimination by some males that can't get their heads out of the belief that women are inferior.

        • 1 vote
        #2.4 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:58 AM EDT

        It's probably due to the story a few days back, regarding the higher degree of difficulty women vets encounter versus their male counterparts, as far as job prospects are concerned. Anyway, perhaps a successful female vet will hire a decent amount of men as well as women, so it would be win-win for everyone.

          #2.5 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:05 AM EDT

          Joe Veteran

          you are taliking in riddles like Obama talking about bayonets and horses the other night. If there is any discrimination any more its all in your heads only because you are depressed or you have some political agenda to push along birth control or something....

          Ive worked many years in computers at many companies as a consultant, just looking at today, is see equal pay and unequal pay. usually the unequal pay is because of experience. And I have also seen many different races white,black,yellow,pink what ever. The current company I am consulting at, I work for a female director over 65 years old. Now I dont even make half of what she makes, so I guess I should be jealous. Or if I want the same or better pay, I should get off of my asset, like you.

          • 2 votes
          #2.6 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:42 AM EDT

          I totally agree that this should be offered to ALL veterans.

          Women wanted equality in all things and that's what they should have, not special programs just for them. Aside from that, this appears to be a good idea.

          • 1 vote
          #2.7 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:28 PM EDT

          Why do things like this always have to be gender specific. White woman are already privileged black men not so much. All these race/gender specific programs do is validate republicans very weak arguments on anything race related. Things like this just give fuel to the bigots.

            Reply#3 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:44 AM EDT

            You comment doesn't make sense. Who are the bigots? You sound like a bigot in your comments implying that Republicans are bigots and of course you and every Democrat aren't bigots or racist. Talk about a weak argument!

            • 2 votes
            #3.1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:51 AM EDT

            Republicans use gender/race specific programs to validate their argument that they are not necessary. While I agree with them on the fact that anything gender/race specific is disgusting, I do think we need social programs to end racial tension.

              #3.2 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:54 AM EDT

              David Severy, did you miss the history lesson in which it was explained that Black Men were allowed to vote before White Women?

              • 2 votes
              #3.3 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:56 AM EDT

              The article says half have no business plan at all. It amazes me that people think they can just start up a small business with no plans other than just an idea for doing something. This is a formula for failure no matter what.

                #3.4 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:59 AM EDT

                David Severy:

                That belief is not solely a Republican one. It is a belief by many that any program that is used to bring parity isn't fair. Ask yourself this: Not fair to who? Because if you only have one demographic group that benefits then everyone else suffers.

                For those of you that are cracking your knuckles and getting ready to respond with the typical "it's not fair because unqualified people are going to benefit":

                Here's my rebuttal. You will have just justified my post. Every demographic group has unqualified people that apply for programs, it's just the ones that don't look like you that are the target of your anger.

                  #3.5 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:08 AM EDT

                  David Severy

                  Why do things like this always have to be gender specific.

                  Would you rather there be no program than a program for women?

                    #3.6 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:48 AM EDT

                    The article did exactly what the libs wanted it to do. It got everyone arguing over something that will have absolutely no out come on anything to divert your attention from what ever it is they are doing behind our backs. Sound familiar? It should, that is what has been going on for almost four years now. From a white, retired, Army Man; what ever the ladies need to get back on track and have a successful life more power to them. I will hold NO resentment toward anyone being successfull, wow a brand new and novel way of thinking! Myself-If the libs want to diccriminate against me let them. I REFUSE to be one of obama's entitled victims. How about you? Grow up and take control of your own life!

                      Reply#5 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:19 AM EDT

                      Their needs to be American laws and programs not gay, women, white, black, Muslim, Christian and so on programs. This kind of niche program only creates a further divide in our society. If it isn't all of American then we don't need it. It is well know that a female, minority, veteran owed small business has a stronger chance of winning government contracts. The article talks more about self-employment, but my point is we already have programs in place. Final thought, like the idea, hate the niche application.

                        Reply#6 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:38 AM EDT

                        Thank you USAF-it was ALL that we fought, bled, and died for wasn't it?

                          #6.1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:08 PM EDT

                          Can someone please explain to me what happened to equal opportunity. All I seem to read now is about the special needs of women veterans. Maybe it's time to split the services again having women serve with women and men with men. Keeping the women out of harms way, might help with their special needs. As we can see, equal opportunity does not seem to be working.

                            Reply#7 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:43 AM EDT

                            Programs----Programs----Programs-----on top of more programs, but WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

                              Reply#8 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:38 PM EDT

                              Full page glossy brochures for economics plans.

                                #8.1 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:14 PM EDT

                                I seem to recall, over the past few decades, multiple bills passed by Congress, and multiple programs implemented by executive and-or bureaucratic decree to assist veterans-turned-entrepreneurs. Multiple such programs. Many different times.

                                To assist ALL veterans-turning-entrepreneur. Along with job assistance programs in every state.

                                Yet now we need a separate pot of money allocated to assist only female vets?

                                I claim unequal treatment and discrimination against male veterans.

                                Either that, or it's a plot of money being allocated in such a way as to hide the misappropriation of funds from the public.

                                  Reply#9 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:46 PM EDT

                                  This is an excellent story. Our veterans should be given help upon returning home to find jobs or start businesses, especially if they are going to enter <a href="">self employment</a>. has jobs posted for almost all industries.

                                    Reply#10 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:52 PM EDT

                                    Re Comment # 2.4: You said: "This program is in place to level the field and allow more women veterans to have the same opportunities as male veterans do."

                                    Women veterans already have the same opportunities that male veterans have. The stated purpose of non-discrimination laws, acts, proposals is (allegedly) to create and provide for equal opportunity but is not and cannot provide for equal results. The results have to be earned, whether male or female.

                                    Equal opportunity already - demonstrably - being present, then any other actions, programs, efforts are discriminatory. Thus illegal.

                                      Reply#11 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:54 PM EDT

                                      This is bad. Why is the job market so bad? After four years where is the hope and change?

                                      Our family has lost hope and we have very little change in our pockets.

                                        Reply#14 - Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:56 PM EDT

                                        It's a joke that this program is being promolgated as some kind of measure to make women more equal. These monies should be made available to veterans regardless of gender. This notion that women get less then men in this country is preposterous. This is another case in point of a glaring double standard, that I for one am becoming ragefully disgusted with, it's almost as bad as the idea that we should all pitch and work harder in so women can get paid to go on maternity leave to fullfill their most primal instinct of having a child. I think if having children is so damned important, men should be paid to take a day off once a weak to seek sexual conquests.

                                          Reply#15 - Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:46 AM EDT
                                          You're in Easy Mode. If you prefer, you can use XHTML Mode instead.
                                          As a new user, you may notice a few temporary content restrictions. Click here for more info.