Women’s Business Development Center to Launch Women Vetrepreneurship Program
Women veterans who are considering business ownership as their path to economic security, independence and empowerment will soon have a new resource to help them succeed.
The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), established in 1986 as one of the first women’s business assistance centers in the U.S., will soon launch the Women Vetrepreneurship Program to provide women veterans with entrepreneurial training, technical assistance, business counseling, direct lending and the mentoring they need to succeed.
A partnership between the WBDC and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), and supported with a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the new program aims to be a “one- stop shop” for participants, according to Hedy M. Ratner, WBDC co-founder and co-president.
Ratner noted that the program will include an IDVA-led and -facilitated women veterans’ affinity group to assist participants in accessing critical social and other support services, including veteran-specific resources and benefits, through community partners and existing veterans organizations.
Additional highlights of the Women Vetrepreneurship Program include:
• Direct lending to eligible new and established business program participants;
• Maintaining a network of partner-provided social services to support the women veteran clients including military sexual trauma counseling;
• Providing no-cost child care services through the WBDC’s Child Care Business clients;
• Forming and facilitating a mentoring program in which women veterans will be paired with successful small business women entrepreneurs;
• Assisting new and established participant business owners to get certified as Veteran-owned businesses and City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois women-owned businesses.
The WBDC will conduct outreach activities before the end of the year to connect with interested program participants.
A nationally and internationally recognized women’s business assistance center in its 26th year of operation, the WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance in Spanish and English. The mission of the WBDC is to provide services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen the impact of women on the economy. For further information about the WBDC, and the Women Vetrepreneurship Program, visit www.WBDC.org or call (312) 853-3477.