MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.
At the WVEC Conference and Competition, participating women will:
- 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, and who will offer advice and insights on how to think like a CEO, position a business for success, improve work-life balance, and more.
- Pitch their businesses for a chance to join Count Me In’s celebrated Business Accelerator Program.
- Connect with motivated women veteran entrepreneurs from across the country in a variety of business sectors – new clients, vendors and peers.
“Through the WVEC program, Capital One and Count Me In have provided women entrepreneurs with a strong community of support, as well as essential tools and resources needed to help them grow their small businesses quickly and sustainably,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and President, Count Me In. “The results speak for themselves. Through their enthusiasm and determination, women-owned small businesses have significantly contributed to the growth of local economies and have created new jobs. We’re proud to honor the first class of WVEC graduates and we look forward to introducing more women veteran entrepreneurs to the WVEC program and empowering them with the tools they need to reach their full potential as small business owners.”
The WVEC Conference and Competition will feature an exciting roster of informative and inspiring speakers and small business growth experts from the military and civilian business world, including:
- Fiona Macauley, Founder-CEO, Making Cents International
- Gina Stern, CEO, dParture Spa
- Maureen Borzacchielo, CEO, Creative Display Solutions
- Keynote: Michele S. Jones, Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) U.S. Army and WVEC 3Outreach Coordinator
- Celia Edwards Karam, Washington DC Market President, Capital One Bank
- Angela Cody Rouget, Major Mom
- Alicia Marie, Managing Director, PeopleBiz Inc.
The WVEC 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.
Capital One’s partnership with Count Me In is aligned with its commitment to helping aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses of every size grow and thrive – whether it’s directly through their products and services, or through innovative partnerships and programs like WVEC that provide tailored business training, mentoring, and other professional support and resources.
About Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence
Count Me In is the leading not-for-profit provider of business education and resources for women interested in growing their micro-businesses into million-dollar enterprises. Founded in 1999, the organization inspires and instructs thousands of women business owners online, at live events, and through peers, coaches and experts to significantly increase revenues and create new jobs. CMI has developed a reputation nationally and internationally for accelerating business growth and positioning women in the forefront of global economic recovery. For more information on Count Me In programs and resources visit www.countmein.org.
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One applies the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. Capital One recognizes that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and Capital One is proud to support this and other community initiatives.