The number of businesses owned by women veterans increased by an astonishing 295 percent, to reach a total of 383,302 businesses.
The number of businesses owned by women veterans increased by an astonishing 295 percent, to reach a total of 383,302 businesses, up from fewer than 100,000.*
I wasn’t all that surprised when I saw the recently released statistics on women veteran-owned businesses. Having worked with so many of these courageous women in my career, it’s a natural fit for them to choose entrepreneurship. They possess traits that make them ideal business owners – they are dependable, are used to making tough decisions, take initiative and can adapt to challenging circumstances.
"The growth of veteran women entrepreneurship has been higher than any other segment of the entrepreneurship economy," says Carla Harris, chair of the National Women's Business Council**.
Part of this drastic growth is surely due to the fact that the number of female veterans has increased dramatically in the past few years: In 2013, there were an estimated 2.2 million female veterans, compared with 1.5 million in 2009. Changes in government contracting guidelines, and an awareness of those changes, has made it more attractive for women to own businesses; and there has been an increasing number of resources available to women and veterans who want to become entrepreneurs.
According to Barbara Corson, Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development, “The lifeline of SBA assistance supporting women’s veteran entrepreneurship begins with the broad network of resources.”
Among the full complement of resources for veteran entrepreneurs, there are two geared specifically to women vets:
1. Women’s Business Centers (WBC) - Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses. Of the more than 100 WBCs, 20 of the centers specifically target the women veteran demographic.
2. Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise) - A three-phase program, V-WISE is offered three times per year across the nation, to approximately 200 participants per session. The program includes a growth track for women veterans and women military spouses already in business as well as start-up training for new entrepreneurs.
I’d love to hear from you! As a woman veteran, why did you decide to embark on this path of entrepreneurship and what have you learned along your journey. Just send us a note at http://cbcommunity.comcast.com/contact.
* 2012 compared with 2007 figures
** National Women’s Business Council