Make Mine a Million $ Business(TM) Program Returns to New York for its Marquee Event

The Make Mine a Million $ Business (www.makemineamillion.org) program returns to the Big Apple on October 23rd when women business owners will compete for money, marketing, mentoring and technology assistance designed to help them build million-dollar enterprises. For the third year in a row, New York plays host to a Make Mine a Million $ Business event, this year at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University.

Twenty finalists from around the country will go head-to-head and compete for ten awards packages to support their growth. The Make Mine a Million $ Business program, launched by Count Me In for Womens Economic Independence and founding partner OPEN from American Express®, is designed to help post-start-up, women-owned businesses exceed $1 million in revenues annually. Winners will be awarded with a growth-pak of assistance that includes products and services from an impressive list of blue-chip national sponsors including OPEN from American Express, AIG®, Cisco®, FedEx®, QVC®, Jet Blue® Marriot® and Sovereign Bank®.

Since its inception in 2005, the program has hosted ten events and grown into a nationwide movement. The program inspires women entrepreneurs to focus on growth and generate ideas that build million-dollar businesses. The program has already led 30,000 women business-owners to declare their intent to drive their businesses toward the million-dollar level. Over 1,700 women have applied to compete in the program, and to date, 87 women entrepreneurs have been awarded Make Mine a Million $ Business growth-paks.

The Make Mine a Million $ Business programs goal is to inspire one million women to declare their intent to build million-dollar businesses by 2010. One million women-owned businesses at $1 million in annual revenue would generate more than four million jobs and add over $700 billion to the United States economy.* In 2006, 10 previous awardees surpassed $1 million in annual revenue and this year 30 past winners are projected to exceed the million-dollar benchmark soon, proving the efficacy of the program and resources at its disposal.

Showcasing our program in the spotlight that is New York City creates a ripple effect, inspiring women entrepreneurs everywhere to the take the necessary steps to build million-dollar enterprises, said Nell Merlino, founder and president, Count Me In. We have set a goal of getting one million women to declare their intent to build million-dollar businesses by the year by 2010, and we are poised to accomplish this thanks in large part to the success of our New York events.

Business owners tell us that growing their enterprises is their top priority, said Susan Sobbott, president, OPEN from American Express. In fact, 57% of our Make Mine a Million $ Business community say that reaching $1 million in revenue is just the beginning. We at OPEN are proud to support a program dedicated to helping women grow their businesses and providing them with the necessary resources to do so.

This year, 24 women business owners have already received awards at Make Mine a Million $ Business Program events in Boston, Madison and Atlanta. New York plays host to the years fifth Make Mine a Million $ Business event of 2007, with the sixth and final event in Burbank on November 14th.

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg will speak on the topic of technology as a building block for getting a small business to the million-dollar mark. The event will also feature special keynote address, panel discussions and workshops from leading businesswomen, coaches, advisors and financial experts. Make Mine a Million $ Business is partnering with Pace University, whose campus will host the event. In addition, during an impressive morning program of Pace experts, titled Business Tool-Building in 60 Minutes, several professors will provide guidance to entrepreneurs in areas that will help them grow their businesses.

This years New York event will also add to its celebration of women by presenting a theatrical performance by the Women's Project, the nation's largest and oldest theatre company devoted to producing the work of female playwrights. As an added treat, Dove® Chocolate will host a chocolate party after the event.

About Count Me In

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 from American Express is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. OPEN 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 OPENSM, visit OPEN.com, 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.

Contacts:

Media:
M Booth & Associates for Count-Me-In and
OPEN from American Express
Matt Hantz, 212-481-7000
matth@mbooth.com
or
OPEN from American Express
Rosa M. Alfonso, 212-640-1712
rosa.m.alfonso@aexp.com

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