Nearly 200 women veterans and military spouses unlocked their inner entrepreneur at the V-WISE conference in Washington, DC
Last week, nearly 200 ambitious women veterans and military spouses came together to explore the world of entrepreneurship. At the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) conference at the Mayflower hotel in Washington, DC, attendees learned all about the rewarding and challenging process of launching and maintaining their own small businesses.
The women of V-WISE DC demonstrated such passion for entrepreneurship that their enthusiasm reached even outside of the Mayflower Hotel conference center, as they spread the word with a more than one million followers on social media.
En route to the conference, on May 28, attendees began sharing their excitement for the upcoming weekend on twitter.
— Determined by Design (@DetrminedDesign) May 28, 2015
As they started to arrive on-site, The Rosie Network helped the women feel at home with a fresh new wardrobe.
— Forever Free Books (@FFreeBooks) May 28, 2015
The first evening of learning and business lessons began with a networking session and was followed by the opening ceremony. Attendees heard from two V-WISE ‘First’ honorees, Maj. Gen. Irene Trowell-Harris, USAF (Ret) and CSM Michele Jones, US Army (Ret), two women who accomplished many firsts throughout their military careers.
— Kia Weatherspoon (@KiaWeatherspoon) May 29, 2015
— V-WISE (@VWISEconference) May 28, 2015
The women later learned about resources for veteran and spouse owned businesses from Barb Carson, Acting Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development, a U.S. Air Force veteran and military spouse. The evening ended with some great music from CAMMO Music and the American Military Spouses Choir.
— Blue Star Families (@BlueStarFamily) May 28, 2015
— Brittany Catton Kirk (@BCKMilFam) May 28, 2015
Day two of V-WISE kicked off with morning yoga, and a keynote session about believing in yourself and your business by Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count me In for Women’s Economic Independence. Two brave attendees even pitched their businesses to the audience with her guidance.
— Erin Voirol (@EVoirol) May 29, 2015
— First Class Resumes (@fcresumes) May 29, 2015
The day continued with breakout sessions on opportunity recognition, financing, meanwhile 20 previous Boots to Business and V-WISE graduates competed in the Citi Salutes Realizing You Dream Competition semifinals.
— IVMF (@IVMFSyracuseU) May 29, 2015
The evening closed with a speech by Neale Godfrey that had the audience roaring with laughter, followed by the announcement of StreetShares’ Commander’s Call Awards.
— StreetShares (@StreetShares) May 29, 2015
— Daddy's Deployed (@DaddysDeployed) May 30, 2015
Day three kicked off with an empowering keynote by Jess Matthews, who reminded the audience that leading like a woman is a good thing, and that they should start a business #likeagirl. Michael Peterson and Jill Chambers also showed the women of #VWISEDC that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.
— Janie Catron (@ATLREALTYbyJC) May 30, 2015
— iServedCoaching (@i_served) May 30, 2015
Following the morning keynotes, five V-WISE graduates and five Boots to Business graduates competed for $130,000 in seed funding in the Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream business competition.
— Erin Voirol (@EVoirol) May 30, 2015
— IVMF (@IVMFSyracuseU) May 30, 2015
V-WISE DC concluded with a half-day of sessions, lunch, and the announcement of the Citi Salutes competition winners. Angela Cody-Rouget, CEO of Major Mom and Timothy Page, CEO of Beltway Express AutoSpa both walked away with $25,000 to put towards their businesses.
— Brian Wagner (@BrianBWagner) May 30, 2015
— IVMF (@IVMFSyracuseU) May 30, 2015
By the end of the conference, nearly 200 women veterans and military spouses gained the skills, lessons, and confidence that they will use back home to create and maintain successful businesses. We can’t wait to see what these bold V-WISE women accomplish!
— Amber Rivera (@guerrillaRD16) June 2, 2015
V-WISE is next heading to Boston and the Midwest. Applications for the Kansas City program are currently open for women veterans and military spouses who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Learn more at http://whitman.syr.edu/vwise/.