Nationwide pitch contest seeks to boost women veteran entrepreneurs

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The Virginia Department of Veterans Services 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

The public is invited to view the posted videos and vote for their favorites between now and midnight E.D.T., Sunday, May 3. 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, visit

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