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Entrepreneurs share secrets of success as military spouses

Posted February 2
Updated February 10

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— Life in the military means a family is often on the move, making it tough for the non-serviceperson spouse to establish a career. Some entrepreneurs who've turned the mobile life into successful businesses shared their tips Friday at the Military Spouse Business and Career Dream Conference.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program hosted the event at the Iron Mike Conference and Catering Center.

Military moves can separate spouses from careers and networks, leaving many to start over in each location. On Friday, about 300 spouses signed up for the conference to hear from 23 local businesses about advanced educational opportunities and ways they could become entrepreneurs.

Cameron Cruse, creator of the R. Riveter line of handbags, was a superstar among the speakers. Her company, which has been featured on "Shark Tank," employs military spouses from across the country.

"Since we've gotten a deal on 'Shark Tank,' we have grown our company over 600 percent," Cruse said.

Outside, they lined up to eat from a food truck started by April Gadberry, who turned her love of cooking into a business.

Gadberry, an Army veteran, knows the value of a fresh-cooked meal.

"When you're in the military, you always get MREs," she said.

Her idea was simple: nutritional support for her husband, who is still in the Army.

"I'm going to create a business, get some food trucks, to feed him some fresh hot-cooked food," she said.

Gadberry has two trucks but dreams of expansion and more jobs for other military spouses.

"You don't have to have formal, long-term schooling. You don't have to have this crazy degree that everyone's looking for. You can explore your hobbies, explore what you want to do with your life, support your family and maybe make a little bit of money with it," said Danielle Nasom.

Her husband, Master Sgt. Travis Nasom, banked time off to spend with their baby daughter while his wife spoke at the conference.

"Maybe it's something you already love, already know how to do. Then the job fits your life, not the other way around," Danielle Nasom said.

Events similar to one at Fort Bragg will be held at 25 military installations this year.

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