Marylyn Harris
EBV-FSU, 2010

Marylyn Harris is a former U.S. Army nurse who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield during the Gulf War. Influenced by her military experiences, Harris opened the Women Veterans Business Center (WVBC) in November of 2010. The mission of the WVBC is to educate and empower women veterans and military families to start and grow “wealth generating” veteran-owned businesses.

Harris wanted business training and expert advice on growing her veteran-owned business, so she applied to Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). She attended and graduated from the EBV – Florida State University in 2010. She was the only female in a class of 20 male veterans.

“At EBV, I wrote the business plan to create the country’s first Women Veterans Business Center,” Harris said. “I won $1500 in the EBV Business Plan Competition to start my business. I left EBV and had the grand opening of the WVBC in Houston five months later in Houston (at City Hall).”

Harris not only owns and operates WVBC, but she is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Senior Healthcare Consultant at Harrland Healthcare Consulting LLC.

“EBV is an empowering program that exponentially assists veterans with starting and growing their businesses,” she said. “It was pivotal in giving me the business training, support network, financial injection for my startup and veteran business role models to emulate. EBV is a transformational program for veteran business owners. It changes the trajectory of their lives.”

EBV connected her not only with the larger veteran business community, but with Syracuse University and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ (IVMF) Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship program (V-WISE) – where she served three and a half years as the national ambassador. In 2013 Dr. Mike Haynie, Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and IVMF Executive Director, nominated her to receive President Obama’s White House Champion of Change award for her national work with women veterans.

“Kudos to Dr. Mike Haynie for his leadership and to all of the tireless leaders of faith and character that are the EBV directors throughout the U.S. Thank you for serving the Veteran Community with excellence,” Harris said.

Harris expressed how being an EBV and V-WISE family member enhanced her skills and national visibility. “I received national appointments with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and numerous prestigious awards and invitations to prestigious places and events,” she said.

Harris’ awards include:

  • 2015 Top MBA of the Year – National Black MBA Association
  • 2015 Houston HERO – Houston Chronicle
  • 2014 Distinguished Nurse Alumni – University of Texas School of Nursing (Houston)
  • 2014 Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year – National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)
  • 2014 Woman VETREPRENEUR of the Year/Finalist – National Veteran-Owned Businesses Association (NaVOBA)
  • 2013 Veteran Business Champion of the Year – U.S. Small Business Administration – Region VI