Military to Main St.: Women Vets Build Businesses

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July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, discusses how women veterans are working to build businesses. She speaks with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television's "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg)

Women vets, they are an untapped economic resource.

When you started count me in, how surprised were you at the number of unemployed female vets and the fact that their skills are vastly underutilized?

We have in -- been amazed at the disciplined they bring to the world.

They have a life experience and the military experience really prepares them for business in a way, i do not know whether it surprised us or not, but it proved to be very exciting for them and the rest of us.

How does the military discipline translate into business discipline and through the ranks of people they work with?

They are goal setters.

We talked to hundreds of thousands of business owners.

A lot do not have goals.

They are goal setters and they want to meet their goals.

They are good team builders.

How do you start a business with no goals?

Class people have an idea and make a product but they do not have goals to make the sales.

The stuff of getting the business going.

They also do not have financial goals.

It is crazy but they do not.

Art of what these women did not necessarily know they needed financial goals.

As soon as we talked about the importance, they got it right away.

Your organization has a business accelerator program.

What does the program involved and how does it prepare female vets to hit the ground running in a short amount of time?

It helps them to understand how to start thinking about themselves and act as ceo.

In the military , you are fitting in and not standing out.

You have got to stand out.

Some of these women have had higher ranking positions.

How do they make that transition when they are used to accepting orders?

A lot of them are happy to be in a situation where they are now able to give the orders.

They have watched.

I was with a bunch of them on friday on capital one.

They were so excited to really understand this was a good thing for them to be doing, as opposed to, i give a talk about being bossy and what it means running a business, and a number of them said that liberated them to go back and not be bossy in a bad way but leave -- be the boss.

Those who can embrace it will do very well.

They also developed a women veteran entrepreneurial court.

You mentioned capital one.

$750,000 ground -- grant.

800,000. who does the core open to and how does it help the business grow and how did it help the local economies?

It is open to all military spouses and veterans.

We are opening it up all to military women.

We do a competition and have another one coming up in november in texas.

We just had one in april in virginia.

They do a two minute pitch of their business.

The judges get in.

Those who win get the business accelerated program and they already are.

One of them had a tow truck dump me.

When we met her, she had one tow truck.

Three weeks later, -- three years later, she had five trucks.

A woman, air force pilot, flew for 12 years in afghanistan and iraq.

She came home and is a camper and has a pet food business.

She came up with a replacement bar, a meal bar, four dogs.

When you go camping, instead of taking a big tag of dog food, you take what looks like an energy bar, but it is a meal for dos.

In the last minute, i have to ask, how does this also helped the military folks transition from what they may have seen on the battlefield to civilian life.

You hear stories about post paramedics stress disorder -- post traumatic stress disorder.

I do not know if it interrupts that but it gives them new purpose and focus, which i think is important when you are transitioning back.

My husband is a vet.

You get a focus and a purpose and making a contribution to the community.

These women want to serve.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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