The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with PenFed Foundation — the charitable arm of PenFed Credit Union — to announce its Military “Women Veteran Bootcamp Accelerator”

On July 13, VA and the PenFed Foundation brought 80 women veteran entrepreneurs from 29 different states to participate in a six-month accelerator program to help guide and prepare them in federal and commercial marketplaces, according to a statement from the VA.

Participants are “VA center for Verification and evaluation verified, with three to five years in business and have past performance as a prime or subcontractor,” the statement said.

The six-month program was created to support women veteran entrepreneurs and bring empowerment to those seeking to grow their business. The program provides training and resources to start and grow businesses.

“It’s important we provide an environment where women entrepreneurs can receive strategic and deliberate education, empowerment, engagement and access to enhance their businesses,” said VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Executive Director Sharon Ridley.

“Through entrepreneurship, women veterans have an opportunity to leverage their military and leadership skills to increase and create economic opportunities,” Ridley continued.

Classes are available with a focus on relationship building, product/market analysis, business development and growth preparation.

Coaching from industry leaders such as AstraZeneca and Halfaker and Associates and OptumServe will be available to participants, as well as small groups for participation.

The program closes with a pitch competition. One participant with a winning pitch will be awarded a PenFed Foundation grant to use toward their own business.

“We have shared a goal: to empower women Veterans and create access to capital and systems to support them,” PenFed Foundation President and retired Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr. said.

“We believe in creating a business ecosystem that establishes service in the U.S. military as the most reliable pathway to a successful entrepreneurship,” said Nicholson.

Learn more about VA’s mission to empower and educate Women Veteran Entrepreneurs for success and economic opportunities at Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

Andie Lopez is an intern reporter at Military Times. She enjoys reporting on breaking news, foreign affairs and education. Lopez is from California and is studying Journalism.

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