The Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center is working toward improving engagement with veteran women entrepreneurs through a series of national focus groups in 2020. The data from the focus groups will help business development and support providers across our nation improve how they engage women veteran entrepreneurs. The purpose is to gather data to advocate for additional services and adequate funding across our nation for women veteran entrepreneurs.

VR Small is the VWEC’s CEO and an Associate in the Hunt Institute. VR’s project was accepted into the 2020 Cohort for the Global Development Lab in January. Phase I of Moments that Matter was comprised of a survey to women veteran entrepreneurs in the DFW metroplex in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. A report of the survey outcomes is expected to be released summer 2020. Phase II is the design and implementation of the focus groups for a deeper dive into key survey questions.

VR’s undergraduate analyst Scott Zuo, undergraduate project manager Shelby Lauren Griffith, and GDL Portfolio Manager Corrie Harris have navigated uncharted waters due to the global pandemic managing to push this project forward amid closures, delays, and ever-changing redirects. As a result, they have created an online alternative for the focus groups. Collaboration with faculty members has helped the team to design an online formulate qualitative questions for the focus group sessions. VR is also a Navy veteran and social entrepreneur. She brings an added layer of relevance to the process with her many years of experience in the small business arena.

Ultimately, this process will result in an online platform that provides a national, regional, and local overview of women veteran entrepreneurs, outlining demographics, industries, average revenues, contracts, capital secured, and more. This platform will offer metrics that clearly identify how women veteran entrepreneurs are helping to drive our nation’s economy. In addition, this data will highlight potential areas of support, such as enhanced technical assistance, access to varied financial products, and expanded contracting opportunities. Both veteran women entrepreneurs and those that partner with them will have access to this platform.

Gaining feedback from women veteran business owners about the moments that matter most during their entrepreneurial  journey will provide key decision makers and funders with a vivid illustration of the real economic impact. It will also inform them of  the ongoing challenges faced by women veteran entrepreneurs. The data from their feedback will help drive the timely allocation of funding resources to areas  that will have the greatest impact toward advancing women veteran owned businesses in our nation. In addition, this is an opportunity to highlight those who have proudly served in the military and  to share their unique experiences. Now more than ever, we need to amplify the voices of our women entrepreneurs and ensure they have the resources needed to succeed.

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