By Hannah Becker
Attending conferences can be a great way for military spouse entrepreneurs to grow their network, gain a business education, and connect with experienced mentors. Conferences designed for entrepreneurs within the military community give military spouses an opportunity to identify resources and strategies necessary for building their business.
Conferences can be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, as they offer continuing education, networking, and business resources all in the same place. Whether you’re a freelancer just getting your feet wet in the entrepreneurial world or an experienced business owner looking to scale your company, attending a conference will kickstart your initiatives and inspire growth.
When planning which conference to attend, research the speakers and sponsors and write out specific goals for your attendance. Think about who you want to meet and what business-related questions you want answered. Developing a customized conference game plan prior to the event can help ensure you get the most out of your conference experience.
Here are six conferences you should consider attending.
1. Veteran EDGE
- When: March 5-8, 2020
- Where: Dallas
If you’re interested in an intensive entrepreneurial experience to help jumpstart your business idea or position your existing operation to scale, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ Veteran EDGE might be for you. Veteran EDGE is a multiday conference open to veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs in a variety of industries and stages of development. If your business is more than a year old, consider applying for this unique military-focused entrepreneurial opportunity.
2. Military Spouse Career Summit
- When: Oct. 17-19
- Where: Springfield, Va.
The Military Spouse Career Summit is hosted annually by the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN). Covering a wide array of military spouse career topics from entrepreneurship to federal employment, NMSN’s Military Spouse Career Summit was developed to assist military spouses in establishing a portable career. The summit includes discussion-filled forums, informative speakers, and networking opportunities with military spouses from multiple different professional spaces.
3. Virtual Working Summit
- When: October 2019
- Where: Virtual
While not explicitly designed for military spouses, the Virtual Working Summit is created with the location-independent entrepreneur in mind. In addition to being virtual, the Virtual Working Summit is completely free — a win-win for the busy military spouse entrepreneur. Learn how other location-independent entrepreneurs build virtual teams, deliver goods and services, and build mobile operations that allow them to work from anywhere with WiFi. If you’re looking for remote working and growth strategies for self-employed digital nomads, the Virtual Working Summit could be for you.
4. Inc. 5000 Military Entrepreneur Program
- When: Oct. 10-12
- Where: Phoenix
Open to military servicemembers, veterans, and spouses, the Inc. 5000 Military Entrepreneur Program provides sponsorships for military community members to attend the Inc. 5000 Conference. Attendees gain access to educational breakouts, networking events, and mentoring with Inc. 5000 CEOs. Dr. Brené Brown, Mark Cuban, and Norm Brodsky are just a few of the entrepreneurs that have made appearances at past Inc. 5000 Conferences.
5. Military Spouse Wellness Summit
- When: 2020 dates to be announced
- Where: Virtual
Hosted by InDependent, the Military Spouse Wellness Summit connects career-minded military spouses with inspiration and resources to improve the quality of life. Past speakers include authors, entrepreneurs, and fitness professionals who understand the unique demands of military life and share actionable tips. If you’re looking for work-life balance strategies that can help alleviate the stress of running a business, consider attending the 100% virtual event.
6. 'Keeping a Career on the Move®' Military Spouse Symposia
- When: Multiple
- Where: Multiple
MOAA’s "Keeping a Career on the Move®" Military Spouse Symposia is a free one-day conference that connects military spouses with professional development resources. The symposium is open to all military spouses (active, reserve, retiree, veteran, and surviving), and free LinkedIn profile pictures are provided to attendees. Upcoming symposia locations include Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Sept. 24); Camp Lejeune, N.C. (Oct. 2); Schofield Barracks, Hawaii (Nov. 6).
Hannah Becker is a marketing professional, tech innovator, and military spouse. She currently works as the Creative Director for Becker Digital and is an Adjunct Instructor of business, computer science, and economics.