The Rosie Network, an organization serving veteran and military-spouse entrepreneurs and independent contractors, is currently accepting applications for its next cohort. Recently, the group said demands for services quadrupled leading the team to quickly adapt to the new challenges of COVID-19.
In response to the pandemic, The Rosie Network recently transitioned its chapters, cohorts and resources into a virtual platform, allowing its team to reach military spouses and veterans on a global spectrum –allowing attendees as far as Japan, Hawaii, and Alaska join the program. In addition to pivoting everything online, weekly call volumes reached an average of 100 calls per week from entrepreneurs seeking resources for raising capital and advice on how to deal with the new challenges they were facing.
What’s new at The Rosie Network
Applications are now being accepted for the next cohort until August 31. Interested participants can apply at the following link: The Rosie Network Applications. After an application is submitted, they are contacted for a personal phone interview.
The Rosie Network currently operates two different 16-week educational programs, through chapters designed specifically for women veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs that wish to launch their own small businesses. Service2CEO is a program built by and for active duty, veterans and military spouse business owners and is also a recipient of the SBA Growth Accelerator Award, a competition hosted by the U.S. Small Business Association awarding $50,000 to 60 different high tech and small business focused accelerators in 2019.
Everyone that graduates from a cohort becomes a member of the National Alumni program, which provides ongoing training and mentorship. All of these programs are provided at no cost to participants and covers all the basics of entrepreneurship, including funding options.
The Rosie Network also maintains a directory service for small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent contractors within the military community to list businesses at no cost to them at RosiesList.org. In addition, the organization offers a COVID-19 related webinar on its website titled Staying One Step Ahead. Rosie Talks will also be launched this month, featuring talks with prominent entrepreneurs in the military community.
“The growth reinforces the need for what we’re doing. It’s also a heavy sense of responsibility to provide the absolute best program and support. Our economy was built by small business owners, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. We serve that segment that has served. Our goal is to make sure that they are launching and growing successfully, even during a pandemic,” Stephanie Brown, Founder and CEO of The Rosie Network, said.
Though events that fund as much as 30% of The Rosie Network’s annual revenue had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, its team was already busy securing new partnerships with household name organizations like the Grow with Google initiative, GovX and Nascar.
Advice for entrepreneurs
“Lean on this community and reach out into the community. We all have these incredible shared experiences and challenges. You also have to pivot and be agile. You have to evaluate what you were doing before and what you can’t do now due to the pandemic and ask yourself, how can I pivot? How do you explore ways to provide that product or service, or even expand a product or service to meet the needs of those you serve?” Brown said.
“Don’t be afraid to access the funding available to you. Right now there are lines of funding available through PPP, open to sole proprietors and independent contractors. Many feel like they won’t qualify because it’s hard to build great credit when you’re moving and PCSing and changing jobs, but there are organizations out there that recognize that and make accommodations for veterans and spouses. Finally, collaborate with people within our community because that becomes a force multiplier for any small business owner or entrepreneur,” she added.
Starting a chapter
The Rosie Network chapters have doubled, expanding to 13, with the newest chapter being launched recently at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In the works is a future location at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. For those interested in bringing The Rosie Network to their local area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.