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May 1, 2013

V-WISE Chicago empowers female veterans through entrepreneurship May 3-5

V-WISE Chicago empowers female veterans through entrepreneurship May 3-5


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 sixth offering May 3-5 in Chicago, Ill.  One hundred and fifty participants are expected to take part. The Chicago conference includes a full agenda of keynote speakers and course instructors from academia, industry, government and the military who will help open the doors of business ownership to the 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. The program empowers participants to find their passion and learn business skills to turn their ideas or existing businesses into growth ventures. V-WISE integrates the leadership, integrity, focus and drive of the nation’s female veterans through premier educational training with accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the country.

V-WISE is the first program ever created to specifically empower women veterans, spouses and service members through business ownership. As such, the opening ceremony of each event includes a powerful program to recognize and honor significant “Firsts” for women in the military, and more broadly, in society. This program includes a multi-media presentation chronicling significant “Firsts” throughout history and an onsite ceremony to honor women “Firsts” in attendance. “First” honorees are presented with the V-WISE “First” Medal.

During the Chicago conference, the following women will be honored as “Firsts”:


 Vice Admiral Robin Braun Vice Admiral Robin Braun, U.S. Navy, Chief of Navy Reserve
 Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio (U.S. Air Force, Retired); Founder and Owner, Dragonfly Productions LLC; Co-Founder & Vice President, Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals (HAAAP)
 Major General Marcelite Harris Major General Marcelite Harris (U.S. Air Force, Retired), CEO, Eroster
Government Services


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.

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. Upcoming 2013 conferences will be held in Seattle on Aug. 16-18 and Denver on Nov. 14-16.

For more information, contact Meghan Florkowski at (315) 443-4629 or  For admissions questions, contact Katherine Frontino, IVMF admissions coordinator, at (315) 443-8791 or



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