Alexandria, Va.-based The PenFed Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping military members and veterans, is giving women veteran entrepreneurs a financial boost with this investment program.
The Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP) is looking to provide veteran-owned startups with seed capital and a variety of resources so they can further develop their business. The program launched in April 2018 and made a commitment to match funding of up to $1 million from PenFed Credit Union for veteran-owned startups.
Though the program is open to all veterans, this year VEIP is putting an emphasis on supporting women entrepreneurs. One of VEIP’s resources is The Women Veteran Fund, which is meant to serve women veteran entrepreneurs through access to capital, business boot camps, non-investment business incubators and mentorship.
“Within female entrepreneurship there is a lack of mentorship. There aren’t enough women who have gone before to reach back and guide new entrepreneurs forward. Events like this provide these women with the opportunity to mentor and grow with one another,” Seda Goff, the director of veteran entrepreneurs at PenFed, said in a statement.
To gain more women veterans for the program, PenFed hosted a networking event for women entrepreneurs during Ladies Night at the Washington Nationals baseball game on June 20. One of the attendees included Suzie Mills, a retired member of the Air Force Reserves.
Mills has been working with VEIP on her startup venture, Desiree Istrati, a media rep for PenFed, told Technical.ly. Mills has been practicing yoga to heal from her Afghanistan deployment, so she founded Honest Soul Yoga in 2013. Mills said that VEIP has helped her broaden her network and gain useful tools to expand her business to more cities, and is eying San Antonio next. What started as a small yoga meetup in her basement has grown to a chain of yoga centers in the D.C.-area. She said more than half of her clients and staff are retired military or military spouses.
“This is a tight-knit community that really focuses on helping each other succeed,” Mills said in a statement.
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