ELIZABETH HOWE SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 - 1:09 PM CONNECTINGVETS.COM
Are you a female veteran business owner in Dallas, Texas? This survey wants to know about your needs — so it can help female veterans everywhere succeed.
The Veteran Women's Enterprise Center — an organization that helps women veteran-owned businesses (WVOBs) scale, strategize, and succeed — is hosting a survey called "Moments that Matter" in partnership with the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank to examine the entrepreneur journey of WVOBs in Dallas. VWEC hopes the results of the survey will help WVOBs everywhere to be better understood and supported.
And that's no longer a small population. A 2007 to 2012 Census Bureau survey of business owners found that WVOBs had grown from 4 percent of all veteran-owned businesses to 15.2 percent — nearly 400,000 new businesses.
"It's not a Dallas thing," said VR Small, the founder and executive director of the VWEC. "It's something that we feel — based on the number of women veterans across our nation who are starting businesses — that this is something that women need across the nation and are looking for. Women veterans don't self-identify. We need to give them a voice."
When Small returned to the Dallas area, she found little to no established support for female veteran entrepreneurs there.
"We didn't even have a women's business center in the city of Dallas at that time," Small said. "All the programs I reached out to who said they helped veterans proclaimed they didn't have anyone in Dallas who could support me. We wanted to meet their needs and give them a place where they could come and have camaraderie, connect."
Small worked to establish VWEC in the area and is now looking to do more for both Dallas-based and national WVOBs with the "Moments that Matter" survey.
"The survey is really in-depth. It really digs deep. And we designed it that way because we really want to try to make this a regional and eventually a national tool that not just my organization can use but any organization that wants to know what's going on with women veterans. They can access this tool and use it," Small said.
The results of the survey will help the general population to understand the unique needs of WVOBs. Eventually, the results will be used to create an annual report on the status of WVOBs, "keeping the volume up and tuned into their ongoing challenges and successes," Small explained But it will only succeed if enough female veteran business owners participate in the survey.
"If they don't take the survey, then the assumptions will continue — assumptions that we don't really exist, that there isn't really a business here," Small said. "They'll go on and on with all these assumptions that really hurt female veteran business owners."