V-WISE Program Honored as an Innovation in American Government

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 — The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program yesterday as part of the 2015 Bright Ideas program. Offered through partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families at Syracuse University, V-WISE provides comprehensive entrepreneurial training to women veterans, active duty and female family members.

“V-WISE is an important and timely resource for women, and we’re proud of the successful entrepreneurs who have used this program to start and grow their companies,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Being recognized by Harvard University is a confirmation of a successful partnership making strides to support the small business ownership dreams of so many women veterans.”

“The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals,” added Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, making government work better doesn’t always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms.”

V-WISE was singled out by the Ash Center as a creative government initiative that deserves to be broadly discussed and replicated. The Ash Center launched the Government Innovators Network in 2003 to highlight original ideas generated by government leaders and their public sector partners. A three-phase program, V-WISE is offered to 200 participants per session, and includes a growth track for participants already in business, and start-up training for new entrepreneurs.

This is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program.

For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources and must be administered by one or more governmental entities. Nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization.

Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions. For more information on the Bright Ideas program, contact the Ash Center at (617)495-4347.

According to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau survey, 4.4 percent of veteran business owners are women, and those numbers continue to increase.

To learn more about the V-WISE program, visit www.vets.syr.edu/education/v-wise/

Each year the SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists start and grow their small businesses. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.