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Virginia Department of Veterans Services and the StreetShares Foundation Hold Pitch Contest For Women Veteran Entrepreneurs

Women veteran-owned and military spouse-owned businesses and start-ups nationwide competing for recognition and small business capital during 2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit in June

 

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and the StreetShares Foundation have teamed up for a nationwide business pitch contest for entrepreneurial women veterans and military spouses called The Female Founders Veteran Small Business Awards.

To qualify for entry in the pitch contest, the founder or owner of the business venture needed to  be at least 21 years old, a female military veteran, active duty service member, member of a Guard or reserve unit, military spouse, or child of a Gold Star family.  Each applicant was required to include a two-minute video pitching their business and submit it online to the StreetShares Foundation. More than 100 applications and videos were received before the entry deadline.

The StreetShares staff has reviewed all videos and selected 14 finalists. These videos are now posted online at https://streetsharesfoundation.org/vote. The public is invited to view the posted videos and vote for their favorites between now and midnight E.D.T., Sunday, May 3, 2020. The three pitch videos receiving the most votes will be the finalists to pitch live in the competition.

These top three will then be judged by a panel of business executives and entrepreneurs who will choose the first, second and third place entries.  Winners will be announced on June 19, 2020 during the Virginia Women Veterans Virtual Summit. This annual Summit is being held online as a virtual event this year because of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. A total of $25,000 in capital funding will be awarded to the three finalists in the contest.

“As an Army veteran, I am especially aware that women veterans and military spouses face unique challenges when transitioning from active duty to the civilian world,” said Annie Walker, Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. “One such challenge is finding the capital investment and financing necessary to start a new business. We are excited to team with the StreetShares Foundation to host The Female Founders Veteran Small Business Award pitch contest and give these entrepreneurial women the opportunity to get the support they need to help make their business successful.”

“All of us at DVS and our partners at the Virginia Employment Commission are excited about offering another great opportunity for women veterans in the Commonwealth and across the nation to stay connected to their sister veterans during the 2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit,” said Beverly VanTull, Women Veteran Program Manager. “The goal of our annual Summit is to increase awareness of the importance of women veterans’ contributions and the unique challenges they face. We want to empower the women and provide them with the knowledge, tools and resources necessary to more smoothly navigate their transition to civilian life. This is our second year of holding a business pitch contest to promote our female veteran entrepreneurs.”

The theme of the 2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit to be held June 17-19 is “Empowered: Collaborating and Creating Champions of Change.” Virginia is home to more than 107,000 women veterans – the largest percentage of women veterans per capita of any state. Virginia is also home to thousands more transitioning women service members and military spouses.  For more information on how to participate in and register for the Summit, please visit https://host.regform.com/virginiawomenveteranssummit/.

About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans.  Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It also oversees the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.

About the StreetShares Foundation

The StreetShares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to inspire, educate and support the military entrepreneurial community. Launched on Veterans Day 2016, the StreetShares Foundation’s programs provide access to capital opportunities, educational content, mentors, coaching and networking events built to serve military community entrepreneurs nationwide. Our grant program, the Veteran Small Business Award, provides a boost of sought-after financial support to help veterans who lack the financial means to start or grow their small businesses.  More at www.streetsharesfoundation.com.