Wisconsin women business owners will compete in the first state-based Make Mine a $Million Business program on May 21 at the Madison Concourse Hotel. Fifteen in-state entrepreneurs will compete for awards packages that include mentoring, money, marketing and technology assistance designed to help them reach $1 million in annual revenues within two years.
Women like Linda Remeschatis, CEO of Wisconsinmade.com and the first to submit an application, are hoping to be selected as one of the fifteen finalists who present elevator pitches to a panel of judges that includes Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Commerce Mary Burke. The attending audience and judges will collaborate to vote for eight winners. Applications are being accepted online at www.makemineamillion.org until April 24, 2007.
Attendees of the event will hear keynote addresses from Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count-Me-In and founder of “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”, and Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton. The attending audience will also have access to experts in financing, marketing, technology and legal matters, as well as networking opportunities. Workshops and visitor exhibits of local business resources will also be available. Registration costs $49 and is also available on the Make Mine a $Million Business web site.
The Make Mine a $Million Business program was launched by Count-Me-In for Women’s Economic Independence and founding partner OPEN from American Express® in 2005 to help post-start-up, women-owned businesses achieve $1 million in revenues, a benchmark that only 3% have reached thus far.
Make Mine a $Million Business recently pledged to inspire one million women to declare their intent to build million-dollar businesses by 2010. If achieved, Wisconsin stands to gain an additional 13,000 women-owned businesses at $1 million in revenues, contributing $13 billion in additional economic activity and creating almost 90,000 new jobs.*
A shining example of how the program has already worked is Marie Moody, 2006 winner and founder of pet food manufacturer Stella & Chewy's. Moody’s business has grown exponentially as a result of the assistance provided by the program, and on May 22nd in Muskego, WI, will host a ribbon-cutting at a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. Details on the company and the event can found online at http://www.stellaandchewys.com/.
“The Make Mine a $Million Business program supports local communities in Wisconsin by helping women grow thriving businesses whether they live in a small town or large city,” said Merlino. “We know women have many roles within the family. Our program enables them to build successful enterprises while staying focused on these roles.”
Applicants to the Make Mine a $Million Business program must be Wisconsin-based, women-owned businesses, in business for at least two years, who demonstrate an ability to scale to the $1 million mark. The eight awardees will get mentoring from a “dream team” of coaches and business experts from Count-Me-In; up to $50,000 in financing from OPEN from American Express and $45,000 from Count-Me-In; a financial evaluation and visibility in marketing campaigns from OPEN from American Express; financial advisory services, insurance consultation and work-life benefits from AIG; a Smart Business Communications package valued up to $20,000 for two awardees from Cisco Systems; discounts on select shipping and office and print services, mentoring and a one-time credit from FedEx; business and financial management software, training and support from Intuit; and a legal audit on issues of financing intellectual property or employment policies and benefits from Wisconsin-based Foley & Lardner. Applicants looking for assistance in the submission process can dial-in to an informational discussion on April 19. Interested parties should email email@example.com for the call-in information.
“We are inspired by these women entrepreneurs who are determined to turn million-dollar dreams into reality,” said Marcella Shinder, vice president, OPEN from American Express®. “Make Mine a $Million Business can make an important contribution to the Wisconsin economy while equipping women business owners with tangible tools to grow their businesses.”
Nationwide more than 15,000 women have joined the Make Mine a $Million Business network of like-minded entrepreneurs and pledged their commitment to breaking the million dollar barrier. Ten women out of a total class of 71 have already succeeded in building $1 million businesses.
Local sponsors of Make Mine a $Million Business Wisconsin include Foley & Lardner, Inacom Information Systems, IBM, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corp, Ameriprint, EMC, Madison Gas and Electric, InBusiness, University of Wisconsin (Madison), Office Max and others.
Count-Me-In for Women’s Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of on-line business loans and resources for women to grow their micro businesses into $million enterprises. Find us at www.countmein.org or call 212-245-1245.
About OPEN from American Express
OPEN is the American Express team dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. The OPEN Team® supports business owners with unparalleled service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPEN, visit www.OPEN.com/women, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a Card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.
American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.
* Data source: US Census Bureau. Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners: Women-Owned Firms, 2002. Published January 2006. (SB02-00CS-WMN). Prepared by Julie Weeks, President and CEO of Womenable, www.womenable.com.