Citi and Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University Launch "Realizing Your Dream" Business Plan Competition for Veterans
Initiative announced at Citi- and SBA-funded conference during IVMF Women Veterans Week Chicago
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Citi and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) today announced the launch of the Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream Business Competition, a call for veterans who are established or aspiring entrepreneurs to submit formal small business plans in hopes of receiving a share of $130,000 in available seed funding. The announcement was made during the Chicago offering of the IVMF's Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program, a three-day conference and collaborative partnership between the IVMF and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that is anchoring IVMF Women Veterans Week Chicago. Citi is a co-sponsor of V-WISE Chicago.
"In the coming years, an estimated one million service members will leave the military and most will look to transition to the civilian workplace, including nearly 20 percent who will start their own business," said Jerome Byers, Head of Citi Small Business, who officially launched the program at today's conference. "Citi is pleased to support a program that encourages entrepreneurship as a pathway to post-service success for our nation's troops."
In partnership with Citi Community Development and with funding from the Citi Foundation, the Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream Business Competition is a part of Citi Salutes™, a firm-wide initiative launched last year to support veteran consumers and job-seekers by connecting them to Citi's entire range of services geared to the veteran community, including career development opportunities, banking products and services developed to meet the unique needs of military families, and partnerships with leading veterans service and community organizations.
"Access to capital is the number one obstacle entrepreneurs face. By partnering with Citi, we can help overcome this challenge for our nation's veteran entrepreneurs. This partnership will continue to expand post-service opportunities afforded to our nation's service members and their families through the most American way possible -- business ownership," says Mike Haynie, IVMF Executive Director and Founder.
As part of the Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream Business Competition, graduates of the IVMF's V-WISE and Boots to Business entrepreneurship training programs who have at least 51 percent ownership in a small business will submit business plans that will be judged by an outside panel of independent judges involved in entrepreneurship. The business plan judged to be the best will receive $25,000 in seed funding, with lesser amounts awarded for second and third place, as well as awards for Best Social Venture, Best Technology Venture, and Best Venture Impact Veterans. Full competition rules and guidelines are available at www.CitiSalutes.com.
Created as a partnership between the IVMF and SBA, V-WISE and Boots to Business are the nation's leading entrepreneurship training programs for veterans, active duty service members and military family members, positioned to empower participants to launch and/or grow sustainable business ventures. V-WISE, which consists of a 15-day online course in addition to the three-day conference and ongoing post-program support, is open to all female veterans, active duty (including National Guard and Reserve) and female spouses/partners of active duty and veterans with a passion for entrepreneurship and the desire to start and grow their own business. Boots to Business is a three-phase training program that introduces and trains transitioning service members to business ownership. It is open to all transitioning military personnel and their spouses from all branches of service.
About the Institute for Veterans & Military Families
As the first institute of its kind in the nation, the IVMF leverages the intellectual, programmatic and human capital resources of higher education in support of the post-service life course of the nation's veterans and military families. The IVMF focuses on developing impactful programming, cultivating actionable research, conducting policy analysis and providing technical assistance positioned to address the social, economic and public policy challenges facing the veterans' community. The IVMF team approaches this mission as a collaboration, forging enduring partnerships with government, private industry, institutions of higher education, philanthropic organizations and stakeholders committed to supporting transitioning service members, veterans and their families. Visit vets.syr.edu for more information. Follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, VetNet and LinkedIn.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.
About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development is leading Citi's commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.
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