Video Source/ Capital One (3blmedia.com/CSR-Profiles/Capital-One)

New York, NY, June 13, 2013 /3BL Media/Corporate Social Responsibility - Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs, and Capital One Financial Corporation, today announced the winners of the first-ever Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) small business competition.

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 partnered with Count Me In recently to develop WVEC, a new business growth initiative for women veteran entrepreneurs currently at $50,000 to $150,000 in annual revenues that is designed to help them grow their businesses quickly and sustainably to spur local economies and job growth in their communities.

WVEC aims to help women-owned businesses across the country grow to $250,000+ in revenue with support through the Count Me In Business Accelerator Program. That goal translates into $75 Million in new economic activity and 600-900 much needed new jobs.

As part of its $800,000 commitment to support the program, Capital One brought women veterans and business growth experts from across the country together to participate in the inaugural WVEC Conference in April 2013 at their headquarters in McLean, Va. During the conference, women veteran entrepreneurs participated in a two-minute business pitch competition that was judged by a panel of business experts and established women veteran small business owners.

Twenty-four winners were selected from the competition and each will be placed in Count Me In’s renowned nine-month Business Accelerator program, which provides intensive business coaching and education designed to help participating businesses grow their revenues by at least 30% and create new jobs within 18-36 months. The program will commence for the Awardees in March 2014.

“The WVEC 2013 Awardees represent yet another group of women business owners who have the potential to truly make an impact on economic growth in our country,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In. “We look forward to working with this promising group of motivated military- affiliated entrepreneurs as they grow their micro-businesses into thriving enterprises.”

The Top 20 Awardees will each receive Jump Start Prizes, a $1,000 cash award to use for their businesses, and all 24 awardees will receive a one-year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

“The skills and qualities that made the 2013 WVEC Awardees 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."

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