Count Me In and Capital One Host National Conference to Help Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Accelerate the Growth of their Small

  Count Me In and Capital One Host National Conference to Help Women Veteran
  Entrepreneurs Accelerate the Growth of their Small Businesses and Create New

 First African-American Female Combat Pilot Will Inspire Women Entrepreneurs
 from Across the Country and Provide a Motivational Speech on Leadership and

Business Wire

MCLEAN, Va. -- April 23, 2013

To help women veteran entrepreneurs fuel the growth of their small businesses
and create new jobs for veterans and civilians across the country, Capital One
Financial Corporation recently partnered with Count Me In for Women’s Economic
Independence to develop the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC), a new
training and mentorship program 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

As part of its $800,000 commitment to supporting the WVEC program, Capital One
today announced that it will bring together women veterans and business growth
experts from across the country to participate in the inaugural WVEC
Conference on April 29 through April 30, 2013 at Capital One’s headquarters in
McLean, Va.

The conference will feature a business pitch competition that will give the
winners an opportunity to join Count Me In’s celebrated Business Accelerator
Program. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a
variety of panels and workshops, some of whichwill be led by established
women veteran small business owners and Capital One professionals will offer
coaching and mentoring during the event.

“The skills and qualities that made these women outstanding military members –
a strong work ethic, discipline, the creativity needed to overcome obstacles –
are precisely the qualities that can translate to business success,” said
Tatiana Stead, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Capital One, Lt. Colonel
(Ret.), United States Air Force Reserve. “Through our partnership with Count
Me In, Capital One is combining our expertise in small business development
with our commitment to help entrepreneurial women vets grow their businesses
–– a step that not only benefits them personally but also supports local
economies and job 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 motivated women veteran entrepreneurs from across the country
    in a variety of business sectors – new clients, vendors and peers.

To help women prepare for the conference, Count Me In has been hosting a
series of free Pitch Parties for the past six months in select cities across
the U.S. for interested business owners. At these events, participating women
practice their two-minute business pitch and receive expert feedback and
network with other women veteran entrepreneurs.

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:

  *Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, VAI Consulting and Training, LLC; America’s
    First African American Female Combat Pilot;
  *Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught, USAF (Retired) and Board President,
    Women In Military Service For America Memorial;
  *Nicole Baldwin, Owner & Founder, BAIO Skincare;
  *Amanda Crow, Owner, PostNet Business Services;
  *Harvetta Spann, Co-Founder, The “WAVE” Women as Veteran Entrepreneurs,US
    Army Veteran;
  *Tatiana Stead, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Capital One, Lt. Colonel
    (Ret.), United States Air Force Reserve;
  *Alicia Marie, Managing Director, PeopleBiz Inc.;
  *Heather Cox, Executive Vice President, Operations, Capital One;
  *Cassaundra St. John, CEO and Founder, F7 Group;
  *Susan Wilson, Founder & CEO, The Judgment Group, Spouse of US Military
  *With Dawn Halfaker, CEO, Halfaker & Associates, Board President, Wounded
    Warriors Project;
  *Cassaundra St. John, CEO, F7 Group;
  *Theresa Daytner, CEO, Daytner Construction Group;
  *Leah Brown, Lead Innovator, A10 Clinical Solutions;
  *Stacey Schieffelin, CEO, YBF Beauty, and
  *Dr. Garnett Newcombe, CEO, Human Potential Consultants.

“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. “Through the WVEC Conference, women veteran
entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to be trained and mentored by
established women veteran business leaders who have faced similar obstacles
and are committed to helping fellow veterans address their biggest challenges
and successfully grow their business.”

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 survey conducted 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 survey.

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

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

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, 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. We apply the same principles of
innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities
across the country that we do in our business. We recognize 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 we are proud
to support this and other community initiatives.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:



Capital One Financial Corporation
Shelley Solheim, 917-589-6203
Count Me In
Jodi Brockington, 212-245-1245 x201
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