Veteran and Military Spouse business owners help you launch your business
B y Marguerite Cleveland
The Rosie Network is a great resource for military spouses, transitioning service members and veterans who want to start their own business or grow an existing one. It was founded by a military spouse Stephanie Brown and other veterans who were inspired by the World War II icon Rosie the Riveter and her “We Can Do It” attitude.
The mission of the Rosie Network is to “to build stronger military families by developing entrepreneurial programs and support services that empower active-duty, veterans and military spouses to realize the American Dream of small business ownership, increasing financial stability and self-sufficiency of those who have served our country.” Started in 2011 in San Diego, the network has grown and there are now many opportunities around the U.S. to participate in their signature program, Service2CEO.
Service2CEO is a recipient of the Small Business Association Growth Accelerator Award and is a free program. It is serious training and mentorship provided by experts in their field. The 16-week program consists of both in class and online instruction. During the COVID-19 crises everything will be virtual. Training includes business training in accounting, human resources, cybersecurity, sales, marketing raising capital, record keeping, eCommerce and management training. Local business leaders offer civilian mentorship. The program will also provide free website development, an assessment of your business concept, and help developing your business plan.
“The Rosie Network is a program for military spouse entrepreneurs to take their current business to a higher level or to take their idea and help it come to fruition. The 16-week program takes the students through 8 modules. Each module focuses on a area of entrepreneurship like marketing or customer personas and is led by a subject matter expert in that area. This program is completely free, and students end the program with a live graduation. Previously done in person, it has since pivoted to online instruction and graduations, which has opened the pool of subject matter experts from around the world. The JBLM Rosie Chapter launched in April and is graduating 6 students on August 19th. To graduate the students must complete mentor calls as well as compile a pitch deck to present. Also new this year, is the Rosie Alumni Chapter. Once they graduate, they can participate in the alumni chapter, opening their ability to network with other graduates and mentors. The alumni chapter hosts online learning series talks as well as a professional development book club. I have been the JBLM Rosie Chapter Lead since it launched in April and am excited to have seen the students start with an idea and see it grow. Students now have their business logos and pitch decks to take with them to investors or any sponsorship/partnership opportunity. This is such a great program and I encourage any military spouse thinking of starting a business to participate. A new cohort date will be announced soon for our area,” said Sonia Ramirez-Garcia, Chapter Head for the Rosie Network at JBLM.
The program offers one on one mentoring and peer to peer support. The program provides opportunities to attend community events and many networking opportunities. Attendees can take advantage of financial, legal, and human resource professional services. There are national events as well. The biggest benefit is being part of the Rosie Network and the opportunity to build a business profile page on Rosie’s List.
“Veteran and military spouse business owners are 10x more likely to hire fellow veterans and military spouses. By empowering these individuals with meaningful training and mentorship, we are impacting their families, their communities and our nation’s economy,” Stephanie Brown, The Rosie Network Founder. It is the largest nonprofit working to solve the military spouse unemployment crisis which is at 14-18%, 5 times the national average. According the BSF Military Lifestyle Survey military spouse unemployment costs taxpayers 1.2 billion.
Rosie’s List is like Angie’s List that you see advertised to find local businesses for your home. Rosie’s List is for military family owned businesses. As part of the Service2CEO program you have will learn how to build a profile page on Rosie’s List. It is a searchable, online database for members that helps you market your products and services worldwide. Your profile page is free and describes your business and what you have to offer to consumer. You can also include a shopping cart for direct sales. It is a huge benefit.
The Service2CEO program is highly successful with 86% of attendees reporting a minimum of 150% increase in revenue. It has a 99.5% Net Promoter rating for the program. A net promotor score measures customer experience. The highest score is 100%. Minority and woman entrepreneurs comprised 60+% of attendees.
The Rosie Network also runs the National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards. The awards recognize those who are willing to take a risk and create a successful business. There are categories for new business start-ups to those for more established entrepreneurs. To learn more about the Servoce2CEO program or how you can nominate a military family business for an award visit The Rosie Network.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com