Major General Martha T. Rainville (U.S. Air Force, Retired), Brigadier General Belinda H. Pinckney (U.S. Army, Retired) and Master Chief Petty Officer Ginger L. Simpson (U.S. Navy, Retired) to be honored as pioneering women in the military
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), one of the first federally-funded programs focused on engaging entrepreneurial opportunity for female veterans and launched by Syracuse University in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2010, will hold its fourth offering Aug. 23-25 in San Diego. One hundred and fifty-seven participants are expected to take part in the conference.
Created to open the doors of business ownership to women veterans and provide them with tools to become successful entrepreneurs, V-WISE is operated by SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and was founded at the Whitman School of Management. The program provides cutting-edge entrepreneurship training to women veterans from any branch/era of military service, active duty military (including National Guard and Reserve) and female spouses/partners of active duty personnel and veterans looking to start a business venture.
V-WISE has three components: a 15-day online course, 20 hours of instruction during the on-site conference and a post-mentorship/technical assistance program offered through the SBA. The on-site conference offers two training environments; a growth track for participants already in business, and a start-up track for potential entrepreneurs. Courses include business planning, marketing, accounting/finance, operations/production, human resources and work-life balance. Ongoing support and mentorship is delivered online and through a robust, comprehensive network of mentors and partners.
The San Diego conference includes a full agenda of keynote speakers and course instructors from academia, industry, government and the military. In addition, Major General Martha T. Rainville (U.S. Air Force, Retired), Brigadier General Belinda H. Pinckney (U.S. Army, Retired) and Master Chief Petty Officer Ginger L. Simpson (U.S. Navy, Retired), will be honored as pioneering women in the military.
For San Diego resident Misty Ann Birchall, 29, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and owner of PubCakes, a proprietor of craft beer cupcakes, V-WISE offers an opportunity for further training in entrepreneurship and small business management. After six years serving in the Navy, Birchall decided it was time for a change. After falling in love with San Diego’s craft beer scene, she thought it might be a unique ingredient to incorporate into her baking.
Birchall admits, “Business ownership sort of chose me. Baking cupcakes from craft beer was a hobby that led to a business. I did not seek out a business from the get go, although it had always been in the back of my mind,” she says. The high demand for PubCakes eventually grew out of a delivery-only business and into a full-fledged storefront. “My specialty is creating desserts with unique flavors that only craft beer can bring. After attending the IVMF’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program at UCLA, intense successive seminar in LA and Google for Entrepreneurs event in San Diego, I have built upon not only my business knowledge, but my networks and my belief in myself. I believe my experience at V-WISE will be no different.”
“V-WISE enables women veterans and female spouses and partners of military members to find their passion and learn the business-savvy skills necessary to turn their ideas or existing businesses into growth ventures,” says Meghan Florkowski, V-WISE program manager at the IVMF. “Since its inception, the goal of the V-WISE program has been to integrate the leadership, integrity, focus and drive of our nation’s female veterans through educational training with accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the nation. We are grateful to our partners the SBA, Whitman School and our newest partner Accenture, which is providing additional sponsorship for our San Diego event.”
V-WISE is offered for a minimal $75 registration fee to participants, who provide their own transportation to the on-site training. Food, lodging and materials are fully funded by the program. For more information, contact Florkowski at (315) 443-4629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For admissions questions on the V-WISE program, or the entire portfolio of veteran entrepreneurship training offered by the IVMF, contact Katherine Frontino, IVMF admissions coordinator, at (315) 443-8791 or email@example.com.