More Than Half of U.S. Women Veteran Business Owners Say Their Leadership Experience in the Military Inspired Them to Start

  More Than Half of U.S. Women Veteran Business Owners Say Their Leadership
  Experience in the Military Inspired Them to Start Their Own Business

     Many Credit Entrepreneurship With Easing Transition to Civilian Life

  Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capital One Launch Women
 Veteran Entrepreneur Corps to Help Women Vets Accelerate the Growth of Their
                               Small Businesses

Business Wire

MCLEAN, Va. -- October 23, 2012

Forty-six percent of U.S. women veteran business owners say that being a
business owner has helped them transition to civilian life after military
service, according to a new survey released today by Count Me In for Women’s
Economic Independence and Capital One Financial Corporation. More than half
(55 percent) of women vets said it was their leadership experience in the
military that inspired them to start their own business, according to the

To help women veterans fuel the growth of their small businesses and create
new jobs for veterans and civilians across the country, Count Me In for
Women’s Economic Independence has partnered with Capital One to develop the
Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC). The new training and mentorship
program is designed to help established women small business owners who are
veterans or spouses/domestic partners of veterans conquer daily business
challenges and plan ahead for future growth and success.

Women vets face a number of challenges to growing their businesses, found the
Count Me In and Capital One study. For example, nearly half of the women
surveyed (46 percent) report that they do not have business plans in place for
the next one to two years, a shortcoming that can impact growth and
profitability. They also recognize that they have more to learn about building
and expanding their business. Twenty-eight percent say their greatest need is
learning about securing new customers, while 24 percent say they need guidance
in gaining access to capital. Other issues women veteran business owners
report facing include managing finances and cash flow (19 percent), creating a
marketing strategy (15 percent) and developing a clear strategy for growth (14

To help women vets overcome these and other business challenges, Count Me In
and Capital One will kick off the WVEC initiative with a conference and
business pitch competition for women small business owners who are military
veterans or spouses/domestic partners of vets on December 3 and 4, 2012. The
event, to be held at Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Va., will gather
hundreds of women veterans and business growth experts to participate in a
variety of panels and workshops, some of which will be led by women veterans.
Individuals can register for the WVEC December Conference and Competition at

“At Capital One, we’re proud to support our service members who are looking
for ways to translate their unique skill sets into the civilian workforce,”
said John G. Finneran, Jr., General Counsel, Capital One. “Starting a business
is a challenging prospect for any entrepreneur. We are committed to doing our
part to help women veteran business owners succeed and watch their businesses
grow. It’s important not for the only the women business owners themselves,
but their families and the communities their businesses serve.”

Capital One has committed $800,000 and additional in-kind services such as
coaching and mentoring toward the WVEC program. The 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.

“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,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and
President of Count Me In. “With Capital One’s help, WVEC  will provide women
veteran business owners with the direct training and the assistance they need
to overcome challenges to their continued business growth.”

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, 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, a six-month intensive business education
    program designed to help women grow their businesses significantly within
    18-36 months.
  *Connect with hundreds of motivated women veteran entrepreneurs from across
    the country in a variety of business sectors – new clients, vendors and

To help women prepare for the December 2012 WVEC Event, Count Me In will host
a series of free Pitch Parties in October and November 2012 in select cities
across the U.S. for interested business owners. At these events, participating
women can practice their two-minute business pitch and receive expert feedback
and network with other women veteran entrepreneurs. Individuals can register
for the WVEC Pitch Parties and the December Conference and Competition at

The WVEC Conference and Competition agenda will be shaped by a Steering
Committee, comprised of a diverse group of public and private sector
authorities including:

  *Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, VAI Consulting and Training, LLC; America’s
    First African American Female Combat Pilot;
  *Hero Barker, Director, Veterans Business Resource Center, of Norfolk, Va.;
  *Samira B. Cook-Gaines, Director, Washington D.C. Women's Business Center;
  *Theresa Daytner, CEO, Daytner Construction Group
  *Dawn Halfaker, Founder & CEO, Halfaker and Associates, President, Wounded
    Warrior Project Board of Directors;
  *Tina Kapral, Director of Education Programs, Institute for Veterans and
    Military Families, Syracuse University;
  *Susan Lee-Merrow, Virginia Small Business Development Centers;
  *Pauline Leitch, Director, Springfield (Va.) Women's Business Center;
  *Kathy Roth-Duoquet, CEO, Blue Star Families;
  *Karen Smaw, Vice Chairman, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority;
  *Tatiana Stead, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Capital One, Lt. Colonel
    (Ret.), United States Air Force Reserve;
  *Cassaundra St. John, CEO and Founder, F7 Group;
  *Susan Wilson, Founder & CEO, The Judgment Group, Spouse of US Military

Survey Methodology

The findings reported in this release are survey conducted by the opinion
research firm, Braun Research of Princeton, New Jersey. Braun Research
interviewed 800 women veterans who own businesses across the United States.
The interviews were conducted by telephone from September 21st through October
3rd, 2012. The margin of error for the interview is plus or minus 3.44
percentage points. Sampling for this study was conducted across the United
States using a database of veterans which was screened for women veterans who
owned a business. A radius sampling technique was also used around military
bases to identify veterans who live in close proximity to bases and then
screened for women who owned businesses. All interviews were conducted using a
computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were
designed from US Census Bureau statistics and US Commerce department
statistics for region, revenue and industry.

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

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding
company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., Capital One Bank
(USA), N. A., and ING Bank, fsb, had$216.5 billionin deposits and$294.5
billionin total assets outstanding as ofMarch 31, 2012. Headquartered
inMcLean, Virginia, Capital One and ING Direct offer a broad spectrum of
financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial
clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A. has approximately
1,000 branch locations primarily inNew York,New Jersey,
Texas,Louisiana,Maryland,Virginiaand theDistrict of Columbia. A Fortune
500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the
symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.

Photos/MultimediaGallery Available:



Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence
Heather Mangrum, 212-245-1245 x201
Capital One Financial Corporation
Shelley Solheim, 917-589-6203
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