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Women Veterans – The Future of Entrepreneurship

by Barbara Carson | Nov. 4, 2015

As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, the strides made by women veteran entrepreneurship – despite the obstacles – are a source of pride and inspiration to me.

As a woman, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and someone who has started her own business, I’m excited about sharing the success stories of women veterans who have decided to take on the challenges of starting a new business.

During a five-year period, from 2007 to 2012, veteran women-owned businesses increased 297 percent!  There are 384,548 veteran women-owned businesses in the United States that generate a total of $19.97 billion in receipts – a 26.3 percent increase since 2007, according to the National Women’s Business Council.

SBA is also seeing an increase in the percentage of women veterans participating in theBoots to Business entrepreneurship training program reflecting this great growth and providing an exciting leading indicator of more to follow.

Yet veteran and non-veteran women still face challenges when it comes to seeking startup capital.  A report by Babson College on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative revealed that women are less likely to ask for business loans out of fear of being denied, even though their financial profiles are often better than their male counterparts.

The SBA has made it possible for women veterans to take those first daunting steps toward business ownership through a vast support network that includes entrepreneurship training designed for women, and counseling from our array of training programs and resource partners.

Our resource partners include:

In addition, we offer Veteran Women Igniting the Spirt of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), an entrepreneurship training program designed for women veterans, active duty women service members and female partners/spouses of active duty service members.

Our programs are helping female veteran entrepreneurs like Carlina Williams.  An entrepreneurial spirit, and the desire to do something creative with her Navy training, as well as to become a role model to her twin boys, is what led her to the SBA.

Carlina now owns Juice Hero, a mobile organic juice truck in San Francisco.  After reaching out to the SBA to find out about programs for veterans looking to become entrepreneurs, she was able to enroll in the two-day Boots to Business course.

Networking opportunities opened for her after taking the course, and she met another Boots to Business graduate, Eddie Ramirez.   An advocate for veterans, Eddie is the owner of Mama Art Café.

While working on her business plan, Carlina connected with a SCORE counselor, who in turn suggested that Eddie and Carlina create a partnership to benefit them both.

Now she is able to test market her juices through Mama Art Café, while taking marketing classes at San Francisco City College.  And she’s excited about the future prospects of expanding her business and sharing what she’s learned with other veterans, thanks to the solid foundation she gained through the Boots to Business training, and the support network she’s developed thanks to SCORE.

Women veterans are endowed with the discipline, resilience and focus needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.  The SBA is here to support them as they accomplish their mission.

Originally posted at https://www.sba.gov/blogs/women-veterans-future-entrepreneurship by Barbara Carson in SBA Blog, “Women Veterans – The Future of Entrepreneurship”. Published Nov. 4, 2015, Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.

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