As Veterans Small Business Week concludes, we wanted to highlight the two women veteran entrepreneurs who were the recipients of the Melissa Washington Small Business Award (MWSBA). During the annual Women Veterans Alliance Unconference in Monterey, California last month, Women Veterans Giving (WVG) awarded $2500 each to Fariza Meyer and Leanne Babcock.
Fariza is currently serving in the United States Army Reserve, Founder of L’aube Boutique and has started an organization to provide military women with bridal gowns. Leanne is currently serving in the United States Air Force Reserve and a partner in Dauntless Wine Company.
“This is the second year that the MWSBA was given with over 50 applications received, said Chris Martin, Army Veteran and President of WVG. “Throughout the year WVG raises money to provide this award, support the annual Unconference and to send women veterans to education conferences.”
“To have recently been one of two recipients of the Melissa Washington Small Business Award was truly a very humbling, yet proud, feeling,” Meyer said. “I must have seen the social media post about this award for months, but something always seemed to distract me from applying. On the due date of the application window, I said, ‘Okay, let’s give this a try.’ It was closing in on midnight, but I stayed focused and pushed that ‘Submit’ button.”
“This award means I can now be a monetarily invested partner in a Veteran owned and operated winery in Oregon. We can know branch out into cider-making.” said Leanne.
There are approximately 2 million women veterans in the United States representing 9.4 percent of the total veteran population with year over year increases in women veteran business ownership. Melissa Washington, President and Founder of the Women Veterans Alliance, is a founding member of WVG and the creator of their women veterans small business award.
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Stay tuned next year when the application period opens for the 2020 Melissa Washington Small Business Award.