Count Me In's WVEC Small Business Competition Announces Women Veteran Entrepreneur Awardees

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Select Entrepreneurs to Participate in Business Accelerator Program Aimed to Help Grow their Businesses and Strengthen Their Local Economies

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We look forward to working with this promising group of motivated military affiliated entrepreneurs as they grow their micro-businesses into thriving enterprises.

Select women veteran entrepreneurs have been chosen as Awardees of the Women Veteran Entrepreneur (WVEC) small business competition for women organized by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs.

WVEC is an exciting new business growth initiative supported generously by Capital One for women veteran entrepreneurs designed to help them grow their businesses quickly and sustainably to improve local economies and job growth in their communities.

WVEC aims to help women-owned businesses from across the country currently at $50,000 to $150,000 in annual revenues to grow to $250,000+ in revenue with support through the Count Me In Business Accelerator Program. That goal translates into $75 Million in new economic activity and 600-900 much-needed new jobs.

The 23 Awardees each presented a two-minute pitch on their business at the WVEC conference and competition at the Capital One Conference Center in Plano, TX on November 19, 2013. Now each of these women veteran entrepreneurs have been invited to participate in Count Me In’s renowned nine-month Business Accelerator program, which provides intensive business coaching and education designed to help their businesses grow in revenues by at least 30% and create new jobs within 18-36 months.

The program will commence in January 24, 2014 the Capital One Conference Center. Awardees will also receive a one-year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). In addition, three Awardees will each receive Jump Start Prizes, a $1,000 cash award to use in their businesses.

The 23 WVEC Awardees are as follows:
-Cassondra G. Armstrong of Chef Cassondra Culinary Concepts
-Lisa Artman of The Skin Clinic, Inc.
-Tamiko W. Bailey of Bailey’s Premier Services LLC
-Lisa Belcastro of LR General Solutions
-Cary Broussard of Broussard Global
-Kesha Dirkson of KDE Public Relations
-MaryEllen Dorey of Dorey AromaTherapy
-Becky Feeley of Texas Carpet Baggers
-Peggy Foster of Raven Transportation
-Beverly Johnson of Aim
-Susan Jones of KLS Group
-Melissa Kelley of Backwise Massage
-Carole Lucio of Done! Fast & Fabulous Hair Color
-Elizabeth Naylor of Ebenezer Wellness
-Pam Parker of Born Again Bodies
-Amy Power of Power Public Relations
-Laura Renner of Hiring Coach Vernita
-Sneed of Lone Star Janitorial LLC
-Kaylin Song of Kaylin Song Chiropractic
-Artura Taylor of Taylor Distribution Group
-Terri Tomlinson of Makeup Training Academy
-Deborah Toodle of Elevated Evolution LLC
-Lameka Weeks of Height Goddess

“Our Women Veteran Awardees represent yet another group of women business owners who have the potential to truly make an impact on economic growth in our country,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In. “We look forward to working with this promising group of motivated military affiliated entrepreneurs as they grow their micro-businesses into thriving enterprises.”

As part of its $800,000 commitment to support the WVEC program, Capital One has brought women veterans and business growth experts from across the country together to participate in two WVEC conferences in 2013. The inaugural WVEC Conference took place in April 2013 at their headquarters in McLean, Va. An additional WVEC event is currently being planned for the spring of 2014.

“At Capital One, we understand the value small businesses bring to local economies and through our partnership with Count Me In, we are combining our expertise in small business development with our commitment to help entrepreneurial women veterans grow their businesses –– a step that not only benefits them personally but also supports local economies and job growth.” said Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Financial Services, Capital One.

About Count Me In

Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses to million dollar enterprises. Count Me In launched the Make Mine a Million $ Business Competition to inspire one million women entrepreneurs scale their businesses to a million dollars in business revenues in the next decade by providing tools, skills, and the support of a nation-wide community of peers.

For more information about Count Me In and WVEC, visit, and follow Count Me In at and @CMIAward.

About Capital One    

Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One applies the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. Capital One recognizes that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and Capital One is proud to support this and other community initiatives.

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